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Sheila may be Congress’ face for Uttar Pradesh elections

Party’s election strategist Prashant Kishor is believed to have suggested Sheila Dikshit’s name.

Party’s election strategist Prashant Kishor is believed to have suggested Sheila Dikshit’s name.  

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Meets Sonia, Rahul; seeks time to make up her mind

Congress veteran Sheila Dikshit on Thursday met party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi amid speculation that she may be made the party’s chief ministerial face for next year’s Assembly polls in politically crucial State of Uttar Pradesh.

Ms. Dikshit, who served as Delhi Chief Minister for three terms, is said to have been sounded by the Congress high command for a leading role in Uttar Pradesh, possibly as the Chief Ministerial candidate.

She is believed to have sought time to make up her mind.

Congress party’s election strategist Prashant Kishor is said to be in favour of a Brahmin face in U.P. elections and is believed to have suggested Ms. Dikshit’s name.

The community, a traditional vote bank of the Congress, shifted allegiance to the BJP in the aftermath of the emergence of Mandir-Mandal politics. A large chunk of Brahmin votes had also gone to Mayawati’s BSP in the past when she gave tickets to many candidates belonging to the community.

The community’s support determines the poll outcome in several seats in Central and Eastern UP.

Ms. Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Uma Shankar Dikshit, who served as Union minister and governor for a long time.

The Congress is trying to regain the lost ground in U.P. where currently it has just 30 MLAs in the 403-member Assembly. The Congress could win only two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls represented by Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively.

The Brahmin community plays a significant role in election outcome in central and eastern UP as it is the dominant caste in these areas.

There was also a buzz that 78-year-old Dikshit could be made Congress’ in charge of poll-bound Punjab as the party was looking for a leader having connection with the State in the wake of Kamal Nath quitting the post last night. Ms. Dikshit is originally from Punjab.

Sources said party’s preparation for Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab came up for discussion during the meeting Ms. Dikshit had with the Gandhis. PTI

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 3:38:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Sheila-may-be-Congress%E2%80%99-face-for-Uttar-Pradesh-elections/article14427137.ece

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