Speculations were rife on Thursday about the Congress planning to make three-time Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit the party’s chief ministerial nominee ahead of next year’s assembly election in politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
Election strategist Prashant Kishor had recommended that Dikshit play a major role in the party’s poll campaign in the state as she is a prominent Brahmin face and could help the Congress regain support of the electorally sizeable and significant community, whose support determines the poll outcome in several seats.
The community, a traditional vote bank of the Congress, shifted allegiance to the BJP in the aftermath of the emergence of Mandir-Mandal politics. A large chunk of Brahmin votes had also gone to Mayawati’s BSP in the past when she gave tickets to many candidates belonging to the community.
A top Congress source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NDTV that the party is closing in on Dikshit as the possible CM candidate, with party chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi, leading the campaign.
Dikshit (78) was scheduled to meet the Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.
Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader from UP Uma Shankar Dikshit, who served as Union minister and governor for a long time.
The Congress is trying to regain the lost ground in UP where currently it has just 30 MLAs in the 403-member assembly. Congress could win only two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi respectively.
The Brahmin community plays a significant role in election outcome in central and eastern UP as it is the dominant caste in these areas.