Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Monday welcomed the bid by the former Chief Ministers, Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, to return to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Describing the duo as “party-breakers,” Mr. Digvijay Singh — who is in-charge of Congress affairs in Uttar Pradesh — said their return to the BJP would facilitate more confusion and crisis in a party that is already facing a leadership crisis.
Speaking to journalists, Mr. Digvijay Singh was upbeat about the Congress’ prospects in U.P., as the party had now equalled the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) clutch of 22 Lok Sabha seats from the State. And, efforts were on to put in place a State-specific strategy for the Assembly elections in 2012.
Having defeated SP president Mulayam Singh’s daughter-in-law in the family pocket borough of Ferozabad in the recent by-polls to the Lok Sabha, the Congress is sure that the possible return of both Mr. Kalyan Singh and Ms. Bharti to the BJP would not lead to a realignment of backward castes.
Part of this confidence lies in the Congress perception that people are increasingly getting disenchanted with caste-based politics and the way it has evolved. Though reluctant to write off Mr. Mulayam Singh and his brand of politics, Mr. Digvijay Singh said the SP’s brand of politics was being rejected, partly because it was perceived to be singularly aimed at promoting a chosen few.
As for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mr. Digvijay Singh refused to subscribe to the assumption that it was on a comeback trail after the Assembly by-elections, in which that party picked up nine of the 11 seats.
“The whole administration was fighting the elections on behalf of the BSP,” he said, adding that the Congress managed to pull off a victory in Ferozabad because the party’s senior leadership pitched their tents there.