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Unconcerned of backlash, Congress sharpens attack on UP govt

September 20, 2013 23:30 IST

For the Congress, the Janata Dal-United has made up for the numbers in case the Samajwadi Party discontinues its support to the UPA government, reports Renu Mittal

The Congress Party has slammed the Akhilesh Yadav government for failing to protect the lives of innocent people in the Muzaffarnagar riots. The party has even compared it to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The Congress attacked the Uttar Pradesh government on a day when BJP MLA Suresh Rana was arrested on charges of making provocative speech to incite riots.

The Congress echoed itsVice-president Rahul Gandhi’sview blaming the BJP for the riots and the Samajwadi Party government in Lucknow for failing to act. The party also deplored the condition in the relief camps.

Congress spokesman P C Chacko said the Samajwadi Party government had no right to continue in power since these were the worst riots in recent history. He said both the BJP and the SP were trying to polarise the voters in Uttar Pradesh.

The Samajwadi Party supports the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre but senior leaders say that with the general elections scheduled early next year, it does not really matter if the Samajwadi Party withdraws support to the UPA at this juncture.

The Congress needed the Samajwadi Party to pass key bills in Parliament, which they did in the monsoon session, and now it’s immaterial whether the SP continues its support in the winter session of Parliament or not.

For the moment the Bahujan Samaj Party supports the Congress party from the outside. The Janata Dal-United has been supporting the Congress on key legislation after they broke ties with the BJP. For the Congress, the JD-U has more than made up for the numbers in case the Samajwadi Party discontinues its support to the UPA government.

It is interesting that the Congress decided to further cement its growing friendship with JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar by asking him to deliver the annual lecture of the National Commission for Minorities called “The idea of India”.

The commission is headed by Wajahat Habibullah who is known to have close links with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. It certainly looks like the Congress and the UPA government are keen to give space to anyone who would take on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The fact that a minorities platform at the national level has been provided to Nitish Kumar speaks volumes of the manner in which the Congress is wooing Nitish.

As far as the attempt to win over the minority is concerned, sources say that the Congress would need to intensify its attack on the Samajwadi Party which is seen as the messiah of the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.

By equating the communal clashes in UP with the Gujarat riots, the Congress is looking at winning over the substantial Muslim vote in the state in a polarised atmosphere created by the arrival of Narendra Modi on the national electoral scene.

The AICC General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Madhusudan Mistry, who is considered close to Rahul Gandhi, had set the ball rolling. He said that Modi and former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah were bringing the Gujarat model to Uttar Pradesh. The arrest of a BJP MLA for his role in the riots has further added fuel to the raging fire.

Both Mayawati and Rahul Gandhi are hoping to reap dividends from the divided polity. While the BSP remains a regional party that has already had three tie ups with the BJP, senior Congress leaders are credited with the view that they would gain since only a national party can counter and obstruct the designs of the BJP and Narendra Modi.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi