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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In big battle in UP, Congress relying on small players too

The trend continued with the Congress’s Lucknow candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam on Monday claiming support of Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasabha and the Jai Hind Jai Bharat Party.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 14:52 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
lok sabha elections 2019,congress alliances in UP,mahan dal
Congress general secretary in-charge of east UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, general secretary in-charge of west UP Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mahan Dal leader Keshav Dev Maurya at UPCC office in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on February 13, 2019.(Subhankar Chakraborty / HT File Photo )

The Congress claimed the support of more small outfits in Uttar Pradesh as nominations for the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha election ended on Monday.

The claim was a continuation of a trend that began soon after the poll scheduled was declared, with the Congress announcing an alliance with smaller parties like Mahan Dal, the Jan Adhikar Party and Apna Dal (Krishna Patel group).

The trend continued with the Congress’s Lucknow candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam on Monday claiming support of Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasabha and the Jai Hind Jai Bharat Party.

Although a Congress communique listed the support of more such outfits, a formal announcement was deferred at the last minute.

The Congress had earlier claimed the support of the Phoolan Devi Jan Jagaran Sena led by Pappu Bhaiya Nishad. The Democratic Party (S) led by Shamshad Khan had extended support to the Congress on April 4. Samajik Nyay Morcha leaders had joined the Congress here on April 7, and announced merger of their political outfit with the grand old party.

It remains to be seen how allying with these parties will help the Congress. The Mahan Dal and the Jan Adhikar Party are believed to have pockets of support in select regions of the state. The support base of others, however, remains in question. “After the SP-BSP-RLD alliance’s snub, the Congress is certainly making efforts to woo different castes. It appears to be following the principle of something is better than nothing. So, it is obviously fighting a battle of perception to project itself as a leading partner of another alliance of smaller political outfits,” said former head of the department political science Lucknow University SK Dwivedi.

“Those who do not have a support base of their own will not help the Congress much and thus will not bring votes. Instead of mobilising support from politically insignificant outfits, the Congress needs to rework its strategy to show results for better performance,” said Dwivedi.

Also Read | Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Small players can make a big difference in close race

The Congress’s desperation to woo caste groups is evident not only in the decision to align with the smaller parties but it was also reflected in selection of candidates.

On many seats, the party changed candidates when a prominent leader joined the Congress. This happened even in Lucknow’s Mohanlalganj where the party changed its candidate and fielded RK Chaudhary soon after he joined the Congress after leaving the Samajwadi Party.

The changes or announcements made at the last minute resulted in the candidate filing nomination papers without adequate preparations. This became evident in Ambedkar Nagar, where the nomination papers of party candidate Ummed Singh, husband of former bandit queen late Phoolan Devi, was rejected.

The Congress that tied up on seven seats with the JAP and two seats with the Apna Dal (Krishna Patel group) had left four seats for the Samajwadi Party and two seats for the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidates.

After initially deciding to leave seven seats for the JAP, the party fielded many JAP leaders as candidates on its election symbol following a suggestion from local units. So the JAP candidate in Jhansi is fighting the election on the Congress symbol.

Apna Dal (Krishna Patel) chief Krishna Patel is also contesting on a Congress ticket.

“We have more such examples. We will have a clear picture after the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers on May 2,” said a senior Congress leader.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 14:52 IST