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Congress shining in Uttar Pradesh: IB report
Tara Shankar Sahay in Delhi |
April 24, 2004 22:40 IST
The latest Intelligence Bureau report must be giving sleepless nights to the Bharatiya Janata Party top brass.
The report, rediff.com has learnt, finds Congress's electoral prospects to have improved in Uttar Pradesh on account of the entry of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra, the children of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The IB report was submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday, April 23. The report said that if Rahul and Priyanka continue to elicit the kind of response they are getting now the party could win as many as 15 to 17 seats.
This is in sharp contrast to the dismal picture the IB painted barely eight weeks ago about the Congress prospects in UP when the two Gandhi children had not yet stepped out into the political arena.
The report mentions the tremendous support, which the Gandhi children have begun receiving is in spite of the party's inadequacy in terms of the organisational machinery and factional fights.
It says the groundswell of public response that they received in Amethi (from where Rahul is contesting) and Rae Bareli (from where Sonia is contesting) and Priyanka's tour of neighbouring Sultanpur could roll over into a handful of other constituencies too.
IB operatives have filed the people's response in various constituencies in the state, which speaks of an unambiguous yearning on their part that the Gandhi children should have been fielded much before.
It says the popular interest among the people of UP on Rahul's and Priyanka's entry is not only among the Muslim-dominated constituencies, but elsewhere too.
"Their interaction with the people with both appealing that the latter vote for the Congress is having a mesmerizing effect, which cannot be underestimated," the IB report points out.
Consequently the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party in UP have commenced talking about Rahul and Priyanka in 'disparaging terms', the report says.
The Muslims in UP, who influence at least 25 constituencies in the state's total of 80, are also encouraged by the Rahul-Priyanka onslaught although a few are inclined towards the SP and the BSP, it points out.
But there are very few takers among Muslims for the BJP in UP although BJP candidate Arif Mohammed Khan in Kaiserganj has made a remarkable dent, it says.
It points out that Samajwadi Party's controversial advertisement in Urdu newspapers in the state equating party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's 'sacrifices' with those of Imam Hussein, the spiritual leader of the Shia community among Muslims, could boomerang on the party.
The gainer is likely to be the Congress given the rapid strides being made by the Gandhi children in UP, it notes. The party could gain as many as 17 seats compared to the 7 or 8 anticipated by the IB earlier.
It says that the public response of the Gandhi children are not just confined to the Rohilkhand division and eastern Uttar Pradesh, but also constituencies like Faizabad and Pratapgarh.