Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati’s “rescue act”, which ensured the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s cut motion in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday is unlikely to dilute the Congress’ campaign against the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh where the ongoing 10 “chetna yatras” have specifically targeted the Mayawati Government.
Through these yatras, whose first phase ends on May 31, the Congress has also fixed its gaze on the Dalit vote bank of Ms. Mayawati with efforts being made to woo them by exposing the failures of the incumbent Government, alleged highhandedness of the ministers and police, and the corruption.
The first indication to this effect was given by the Uttar Pradesh Congress president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi at public meeting in Aminabad to mark the entry of the yatra in Lucknow late on Tuesday, soon after the cut motion fell. Dr. Joshi not only ridiculed Ms. Mayawati’s attempt to cleanse the BSP of mafia and criminals, she wondered what action could be taken by the police when the criminal elements in the ruling party allegedly enjoyed the patronage of the Chief Minister and the ministers.
With the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister too declaring that the BSP’s struggle against the “anti- poor” and “anti-Dalit” polices of the UPA Government would continue, sources in the Congress felt that with the “tide changing in its favour” in the State there was no scope for going slow on the campaign to bring the party back to power in UP in 2012.
“ People’s trust in Rahul Gandhi is becoming a great base for the Congress to develop itself and reach out to not only the Dalits, but majority of the poor”, Dr. Joshi told “The Hindu”. According to the UPCC chief, Mr. Gandhi, who launched the 10 yatras from Ambedkar Nagar on April 14, had emerged as a “great unifying” factor. “ The response of the people, particularly the women and youth, was becoming visible in the ongoing yatras”, Dr. Joshi added.
She claimed that the response to the yatras was “beyond expectations” and that of the Dalits “positive” as all sections of the population were reeling under the impact of the Mayawati Government.
To rule out suggestions of a climb down on Ms. Mayawati following Tuesday’s political developments, the UP Congress has submitted a proposal to organize two public meetings of Rahul Gandhi and one of the party president, Sonia Gandhi before the conclusion of the yatras’ first phase on May 31.
Mr. Gandhi’s public meetings are likely to be held in the two backward regions of the State --- Bundelkhand region, which boasts of eight ministers in the Mayawati Government, and in eastern Uttar Pradesh ( Purvanchal). Ms. Gandhi’s meeting is likely to be held in western UP. Dates of the three meetings would be finalised after approval from the party high command.
In fact, a programme of political action against the Mayawati Government has been charted out by the Congress, which would continue till December 2011. The second phase of the chetna yatras begins in September and concludes in Allahabad on November 10 with the UPA Chairperson scheduled to address the closing function.
This would be followed by a year-long campaign from December 2010 to December 2011 to expose the “misdeeds” of the BSP Government. The UP Congress plans to prepare a dossier on the shortcomings and failures of the Mayawati Government.
Congress sources in Lucknow vehemently denied that a “deal” had been struck with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. “ The party is on course to fulfil ‘mission 2012’ of Mr. Gandhi and since the BSP is the ruling party in the State the Congress campaign would obviously be directed against it”, said the UPCC spokesman, Dwijendra Tripathi.