There had been n number of times during the history of the grand old party Congress, that talks have been made in different arenas. False predictions and hate-mongering have been a blessing in disguise for Congress and played a crucial role in further re-invigorating its beliefs and actions. After all, it is from criticism and reflections that true change can be brought about. And this has been the core strength of the party. It has always humbly accepted its drawbacks and revised its policies and workings time to time keeping in mind the needs and goals of the nation and its people.
One can safely claim that the “Soul of India” or INC, indeed, has a phoenix like quality and has risen from ashes as it opponents predicted its untimely death and jeered at its helplessness. There have been many such days for the party since its inception that marked new beginnings but for the millennials’ 23rd of January, 2019 is going to be a date worth remembering. This date marks the formal entry of Priyanka Gandhi in Indian politics and the beginning of a new era for the Congress Party. Interestingly, it is the same date on which the entire nation celebrates the birthday of its beloved son Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In the twenty-first century, perhaps, this day in future will also be celebrated for giving India a vivacious, intelligent and a promising woman leader who would steer India towards a better and promising future. Today, as our nation cows down before ugly hyper-masculinity, ignorance, mis-information, mindless violence, economic unpredictability and lack of opportunity for youth and women Priyanka Gandhi’s sheer presence in electoral politics offers us a healthy alternative picture. Her presence is going act as a constant reminder to the fact that: we need to wrestle out power from the hands of uncouth, greedy, divisive old men who have no part to play in the making our India of dreams.
Like all invested reformers, Priyanka has started her journey for change from “home” that is Uttar Pradesh, a state that has given many prime ministers to India. Her surprise entry will have many effects in the course of her political journey but for now it has left the battle for 80 Lok Sabha seats in her home state wide open to new possibilities. Her appointment as the General Secretary and her area of focus that is Eastern U.P has rattled the ruling party like never before.
The SP&BSP alliance and Congress’s decision to contest all the eighty seats on its own has severely dented the chances of BJP repeating its magical performance in 2014 general elections. In 2014 general elections BJP bagged 71 seats while SP got 5 and INC won in its bastions Amethi & Raebareli. Interestingly, BSP did not get any seat despite getting 19.60% of votes polled.
The answer lies in the vote share percentages of 2014 elections. BJP received 42.30% of the , SP received 22.20%, BSP received 19.60% while INC received 7.50% of the total votes polled. Use of simple arithmetic can help us to understand the vote share o all the contesting parties. SP and BSP alliance put together garnered a healthy 41.8% vote share. INC was in an alliance with RLD for the 2014 general elections. Whereas, BJP allied with Apna Dal which bagged 2 seats and received 1.01% of the total votes polled.
It is well known and widely accepted fact that BJP hasn’t treated its allies respectfully post 2014 win and most are miffed with the working style of Amit Shah to say the least. Historically, as data suggests that Congress’s traditional vote share in UP has been that of Brahmins and higher castes, till 1984 UP was a Congress bastion. (The only exception being 1977 where Congress won zero seats post the imposition of emergency.) Lets us take a quick look at the past performances of Congress in U.P.
1951+52 – 1st general election. Congress – 64 seats out of total 69.
1957 – Congress: Approx 70 out of 75
1962 – Congress: 62/85, plus a party named JS.
1967 – Total: 85. Congress 48/85, Jan Sangh: 12, CPI, CPM, PSP, SSP other parties.
1971 – Congress: 73/85, BJS: 4
1980 – Cong: 50/85, Janata (Soc of Charan Singh): 29.
1984 – Congress 82 or 83 out of 85 seats
When the clout of Congress started waning post 1984 the Upper Castes and Brahmin voters started moving towards the BJP not because of the love lost for INC but for sheer dislike towards parties like SP & BSP which catered only to certain sections of the UP population. This led to the rise of BJP in the state. For years Congress was unable to restructure the party and present a strong face to its vote base which further resulted in alienation of Congress from its voters. The alliances with SP & BSP did not help INC to woo back its voter base either.
The Priyanka Gandhi Factor:
There is always arithmetic, number crunching and caste equations on one side and then on the other end there is love and affection that people of UP share for the Gandhi-Nehru family which is in-quantifiable.
Priyanka Gandhi has reciprocated and nurtured the love and affection of the people of UP especially Amethi and Raebareli for years, for people of those assembly constituencies she isn’t a politician but their very own daughter. She was always with them through thick and thin away from the media glare quietly serving the people and looking after the constituencies of her mother and brother.
She not only presents the seriousness of Congress about UP elections but also has been instrumental in reinvigorating the zeal and the enthusiasm of its workers. There seems to be no end to celebrations in UP post the announcement of Priyanka Gandhi taking over as AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East.
She represents “hope”, “promise” and the belief of the elderly and aspirations of the youth for the state which has been battered by divisive communal, anti development politics since 2014. After all, it was one able woman Mahisasuramardini who delivered humanity from the menace of thousand demons.