Priyanka Gandhi starts chalking out minority outreach plan ahead of 2022 UP polls
Priyanka Gandhi has emerged as the Congress’s face in its opposition to the CAA and the NRC. She has met the families of the protestors killed in the violence during protests in Uttar Pradesh.Updated: Jan 06, 2020 05:44 IST
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has sought the caste composition in each of Uttar Pradesh’s 403 assembly constituencies as her party seeks to reach out to the Dalits, Other Backward Class (OBCs) and Muslims ahead of the 2022 assembly polls in the state, Congress functionaries aware of the developments said.
The outreach has been planned based on an assessment that the three sections are “disillusioned” with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) because of their subdued opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has triggered protests across the country, and the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), they added.
The Dalits account for 21% of UP’s population and have been the BSP’s main support base. The SP is primarily seen as the party of OBC Yadavs and Muslims.
Priyanka Gandhi has emerged as the Congress’s face in its opposition to the CAA and the NRC. She has met the families of the protestors killed in the violence during protests in Uttar Pradesh.
At least 21 people died in Uttar Pradesh in the violence on December 20 and 21 as protests against the CAA and NRC spread to other parts of the country. The protests first erupted in the Northeast, especially in Assam, where residents fear the CAA could result in a fresh influx of outsiders, after Parliament passed it on December 11.
The CAA seeks to fast-track citizenship for non-Muslim refugees, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015. Opponents of the CAA say the law is unconstitutional as it links faith to citizenship in a secular country and is discriminatory because it leaves out the Muslims. They point out that the CAA, if combined with a pan-India NRC, could result in the expulsion or detention of Muslims unable to provide the documentation required for the exercise.
An exercise to identify undocumented immigrants in Assam led to the exclusion of over 1.9 million people from the NRC in Assam last year.
Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the outreach has rattled BSP chief Mayawati, who has attacked their party’s top leadership. As per the functionaries, Priyanka Gandhi has also sought a report on the impact of the Congress’s alliance with the SP in 2017 UP’s assembly polls.
The Congress registered its worst-ever performance in the 2017 elections and bagged just seven seats. The failure of the two parties to transfer their votes to each other has been identified as the reason for their dismal performance.
The BJP returned to power in UP in 2017. It continued its dominance in the state and won seven out of the 11 assembly seats to which by-polls were held in October. Priyanka Gandhi, who is a Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, has kept her focus on the state, which sends 80 lawmakers to the 543-member Lok Sabha.
She has raised the issues related to UP and attacked chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his government over the law and order situation, especially the alleged increase in the rape cases, and police excesses during the CAA protests. The Congress, the functionaries feels it is the right time to build a campaign against the Yogi government even as it managed to win just one Lok Sabha seat in UP in last summer’s national polls.
“Congress is a political party, Priyanka Ji is its leader. Of course, they can launch any outreach programme. But, it’s better that she first reaches out to her party cadre which is disillusioned with the party itself. She has not lent an ear to nearly a dozen party seniors who had been requesting an audience. Instead, the party expelled them. Voters are now waiting to elections to oust BJP and make Akhilesh Yadav the chief minister again,” said a Samajwadi Party leader.