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Neither Rahul nor PK, Congress in distress in UP

LUCKNOW (FAISAL FAREED): Amidst the high voltage drama in Samajwadi Party focus has shifted from Congress. The oldest party has hired Prashant Kishore as its poll manager and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has been given full authority. Swinging into action, Rahul undertook a whirlwind tour of the state and Khat Panchayat.

Another interesting fact is that from the four Muslim MLAs of Congress, three of them have joined BSP. Among the remaining six turncoat, five have joined BJP while one opted for SP. The analysis clearly indicates the trend in upcoming assembly polls.

Amidst the hectic activity by Congress, the party instead of gaining suffered several major jolts. Despite management by PK and charisma of Rahul in past three months nine MLAs have deserted the party which include its former state president and chief whip in state assembly. Further and equal number are also waiting in the wings to switch loyalty. Instead of gaining grounds, Congress is quickly easing its already existing little space.

The exodus in Congress began in August during the biennial election for Vidhan Parishad and Rajya Sabha. The party which had a strength of 29 MLAs in Vidhan Sabha is now reduced to only 20 legislators. Those who left the party include Dilnawaz Khan, Mohammad Muslim (chief whip, Congress Legislature Party) and Nawab Kazim Ali Khan. It is interesting to note that all these are Muslim legislators and have opted for BSP as their new party. Now Congress is left with only one Muslim MLA Nadeem Javed. Shifting of its Muslim MLAs to BSP is a clear indication of the direction in which wind is flowing.

Others who left the party include Vijay Dube, Sanjay Jaiswal, Madhuri Verma, Pradeep Choudhary and Reeta Bahuguna Joshi (former UPCC president)—all of them joining BJP. Only Mukesh Srivastava has joined SP.

As per poll management by PK, Rahul conducted 26 Khat Panchayats, 26 road shows and addressed more than 700 meetings. But all this failed to control the exodus. Congress leaders claimed that PK has failed to pick the political strategies in Congress and Rita Bahuguna Joshi while leaving Congress openly claimed that PK should only be a poll manager and poll director. Interestingly, the exodus began when reins of UP were unofficially handed over to Rahul Gandhi. “Earlier atleast Sonia Gandhi used to listen to us while now there is no such arrangement,” Rita remarked while joining BJP.

Left with little scope now Congress has pinned their hopes on SP which is witnessing a power tussle among Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav.The dream of Congress is that they are just waiting to have a alliance with SP to sail through the political battle by ending the drought of remaining in opposition for past 27 years.