Winning electoral battles on the strength of the political credibility and demonstrated record of political achievements by a political party is one thing but resorting to crass minority votebank politics indicates political desperation to improve political fortunes at any cost. The Congress Party in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections commencing next month is exactly indulging in the latter. The political stakes for the Congress Party in the Assembly Elections are very high chiefly because it wishes to establish ‘Brand Rahul’ as an election-winning factor. The large Indian Muslims votebanks in Uttar Pradesh are being specially targeted to emerge as the decisive factor in reversal of political fortunes in Uttar Pradesh for the Congress Party.
In the run-up to the Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Government has announced many sops for the Indian Muslims in terms of increased reservations while going ahead by using the generic term of ‘minorities’ as a political fig-leaf. This has not befooled the general public in whose perceptions these steps are being realistically viewed as providing sops to garner Indian Muslim votes.
So much so that only yesterday the Election Commission has issued notices to the Central Law Minister and his wife for announcing increased quotas for the Indian Muslims after the Model Code of Conduct has become operative.
The moot question that emerges in this connection is that why is the Congress Party resorting to such desperate measures claiming to be a Party of over hundred years standing and ruling in New Delhi for more than eight years continuously.
The answer lies in a simple fact that the Congress Government in New Delhi has suffered a severe image deficit in terms of lack of effective governance and widespread large-scale corruption which has sickened the citizens of the Indian Republic. So in the Uttar Pradesh Elections the Congress Party has nothing to fortify its election campaign in terms of credible development achievements and a strong political image of the Congress-run Central Government in New Delhi for the last eight years.
Rahul Gandhi in his whirlwind election campaign in Uttar Pradesh currently is shouting hoarse on rampant corruption of the Mayawati Government and corruption in BJP-ruled States. This however does not seem to be impressing the voters as in the age of 24x7 electronic media the Indian voter stands brainwashed and made alive to the rampant corruption in which the Congress Government in New Delhi cannot absolve its accountability and responsibility for the cascade of corruption scams by Cabinet Ministers and other Congress functionaries.
Exploiting Indian Muslims votebanks has been a historical and traditional feature of Congress Party electoral strategies in the past six decades. But presently in Uttar Pradesh elections the Congress Party has also to contend with the Samajwadi Party led by former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh which too has been practising Indian Muslim votebank politics with some success in the past.
Media reports suggest that unlike in past decades the Indian Muslim votebank is no longer expected to vote as one unified whole. With better education and economic and social upward mobility, the younger generation of India Muslims wish to be a part of the Indian mainstream and abhor the votebank politics inflicted on their community through their clergy by parties like the Congress and Samajwadi Party.
In a few weeks’ time India will come to know whether Indian Muslim votebank politics of the Congress Party, which excels in such games can reverse political fortunes of the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh even with Rahul Gandhi as their star campaigner.