Chhattisgarh CM to woo Kurmis for Cong in UP

Chhattisgarh CM to woo Kurmis for Cong in UP

Bhupesh Baghel

The Congress has decided to use Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to woo the powerful OBC Kurmi community in Uttar Pradesh.

According to UP Congress leaders, Baghel is likely to be included in the list of star campaigners for the party and extensively campaign in the state, that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

"Baghel will be addressing election rallies, mainly in the areas dominated by Kurmis in the east and central regions of the state," said a senior UP Congress leader while speaking to DH here.

On Saturday, Baghel, who addressed a rally in Barabanki town, about 40 km from here, was introduced by Congress leaders as a Kurmi leader.

The Congress has currently no powerful 'Kurmi' leader in the state. The grand old party had been greatly benefitted after senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Beni Prasad Verma, who hailed from Kurmi community, had joined the party before 2009 LS polls.

The Congress was able to win several Kurmi dominated seats, including Gonda, Baharaich and Barabanki in the state in 2009 general elections.

Verma, however, left the party a few years back and since then the Congress had been looking for some influential leader from the community.

Kurmis, who formed around four per cent of the electorate in the state, played a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the electoral contest in around a dozen districts in the eastern and central regions of the state.

The BJP had allied with the Apna Dal (AD) which was predominantly a Kurmi outfit in UP in 2014 LS polls. The AD managed to win two LS seats. 

Kurmis were in sizable numbers in Varanasi and its adjoining LS constituencies also.

"We hope to make a dent into the OBC vote bank of the BJP and AD through Baghel," the Congress leader said.