Lucknow: Even as the Congress in Uttar Pradesh intensifies its attack on the Yogi Adityanath government in the state, the party faces fragmentation from within.
Fringe groups, with the Brahmin community as the focus, are emerging to carry forward their own agenda which is not necessarily in consonance with the party line.
Former union minister and senior Congress leader Jitin Prasad has launched the Brahmin Chetna Parishad of which he is the patron.
He has launched a dialogue with members of his community through the social media and is concerned about the increasing atrocities on Brahmins in the Yogi Adityanath regime.
Jitin Prasad, last year, had embarked on a Brahmin Chetna Yatra in Uttar Pradesh during which he had met families of those who had been killed in various incidents and the majority of them were Brahmins.
Another senior Congress leader Swayam Prakash Goswami had formed the Uttar Pradesh Brahmin Sena – a ‘social organization’ – that is working for the welfare of the community.
Another young party leader Konark Dixit has set up a WhatsApp group called ‘Shoshit Congress Savarn’ that discusses the manner in which upper castes, mainly Brahmins, are being sidelined in the party under the leadership of Ajay Kumar Lallu, UPCC president.
Konark Dixit has now been expelled from the party.
The WhatsApp group, interestingly, has several senior Brahmin party leaders as members.
Incidentally, out of the ten senior Congress leaders who were expelled from the party in UP last year, five are Brahmins.
A senior Brahmin leader said that in the present scenario, the Congress should make an effort to woo Brahmins because the community is disillusioned with the BJP and will not go with the SP or the BSP.
“If we can win over Brahmins, Muslims will automatically follow and the party will gradually regain its original vote bank of Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins. Unfortunately, the party leadership is playing the OBC card which is not going to benefit us because Yadavs are with the Samajwadi Party and non-Yadav OBCs are with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party is ignoring its Brahmin leaders,” he said.
Veteran Congress leader Anusuya Sharma, meanwhile, has set up another outfit called the ‘Rahul Priyanka Sena’.
“I am trying to strengthen the Congress that fought the freedom movement and played a role in nation building. I am for the Congress that had leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi who laid down their lives for the country. Today there is a conspiracy to finish the Congress and I am fighting against it,” she said.
Sharma said that she is a Brahmin by birth and “we must accept the positive aspect of caste system.”
A former UPCC president told IANS that the emergence of fringe outfits, headed by senior leaders, was a result of the manner in which seniors were being sidelined.
“Senior Congress leaders who have stayed with the party through thick and thin, will not join any other party. They have been pushed to the wings and are not even invited for party functions. It is natural that they will do something to keep their supporters together,” he said.
Haji Siraj Mehndi, a veteran leader who was also expelled, said, “Suddenly we are told that there is no space for us in the party to which we have given a lifetime. After we were expelled without any reason, we tried to seek an appointment with the party high command but got no response. Fragmentation within the party is a result of this new ideology that is guiding the Congress in UP.”
Congress leaders who are in the party mainstream, meanwhile, said that the party was working for the weaker and deprived sections including Dalits and OBCs. “Those who are playing the Brahmin card can play their own game,” a leader, considered a close associate of the UPCC president, said.