Brahmins, Muslims on Congress agenda
By Subhash Mishra | ENS | Published: 29th October 2012 10:19 AM |
By promoting three ministers from Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leadership has made it clear that it was determined to revive its traditional support base of Brahmins and Muslims.
It has promoted Ministers of State Jitin Prasad and Rajiv Shukla, both Brahmins, by showering upon them more portfolios -- Defence and the HRD, and Planning, respectively, with an aim to woo the Brahmins who had deserted the Congress long back and shifted their loyalties to the BJP and the BSP. With the next parliamentary elections drawing closer, the party has made a desperate attempt to please the Brahmin community and has again chosen to ignore another upper caste -- Rajputs -- by refusing to make any of the MPs of this caste a minister from UP.
The elevation of Shukla comes as a surprise even to the Congress circles as he had hardly contributed in popularising the party among Brahmins.
Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member, has never been a grassroots leader. However, giving additional charge of Defence and the HRD to Jitin Prasad has sent waves of celebration among his supporters. Prasad had recently been appointed as the zonal head of the Congress in the state, who would look after eight parliamentary constituencies.
Ignoring the controversies hovering over Law Minister Salman Khurshid, the party has promoted him as the External Affairs Minister. Khurshid had been caught in the controversy over the alleged irregularities in his Zakir Husain Memorial Trust. Though the minister had failed to lure Muslim votes in the recent UP Assembly elections, the party has again evinced its trust in him.
Similarly, the other ministers from UP like Beni Prasad Verma and Shri Prakash Jaiswal, who were in news for their outspokenness, have also retained their respective ministries.