Ahead of the 2012 assembly polls, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s surprise move in Greater Noida has skewed the pitch for all the stakeholders in Uttar Pradesh politics.
In his efforts to rebuild the Congress fortunes in the politically vital state, Gandhi has been picking up key issues that involve the electorate – health and now land acquisition.
On April 27, he had walked down to the national rural health mission (NRHM) headquarters in Lucknow to seek information under right to information (RTI) on utilisation of central funds for health services in UP.In August 2010, he had gone to Aligarh’s Tappal village to meet the farmers, who had been agitating against land acquisition for Yamuna Expressway. In April 2008, he had created a flutter by marching to the commissioner’s office in Jhansi along with people of Bisauli village to present a memorandum to the state government.
Now, his visit to Bhatta has landed the state government in a fix and the opposition in a predicament.
Mayawati is not yet ready to confront Gandhi with force, the way she had handled the leaders of other parties – Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra (BJP), Shivpal Yadav (SP), Ajit Singh (RLD) – who tried to visit the troubled zone.
All through Wednesday, the chief minister’s office held consultations to find ways to wriggle out of the tricky situation, while the state home department kept tab on the security situation.
Gandhi’s foray into Noida is the beginning of the Congress’ fresh initiative. He has targeted Jat-dominated constituency in Western UP where the party has hitherto been struggling to widen its base.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), enjoying Jat-Muslim combination in Western UP, has also been trying to tie up with the Congress.
The farmers’ agitation in the Jat belt is likely to have an adverse impact on the BSP fortune. The party has been desperately trying to bring the rivals Jats (30 lakh) closer to Jatavs (Dalits, who have a strength of 75 lakh) in the west.
But the Noida violence could negate the alliance process. While BSP has a grip over the Jatavs, the Jats have been largely supporting RLD and BJP.