NEW DELHI: Ahead of assembly elections in five states, the Congress is working on its caste equations with prominence being given to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in party ruled states and also in the organisational reshuffle. Party leaders said the upcoming revamp in state units is also planned on these lines.
The Congress is expected to soon announce organisational revamp in Gujarat unit and is looking to balance caste equations by picking up OBC-ST combination for the posts of party chief and the leader of opposition. The assembly elections are due in the state at the end of 2022.
Former Congress president and wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has flagged at various party fora the atrocities against Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes under the BJP regime and emphasised that the party should give them platform and support to fight for their rights.
The party picked up Charanjit Singh Channi, who belongs to the Scheduled caste, as Punjab Chief Minister, a move that forced opposition parties in the state to go back to the drawing board to rework their strategies to woo the community that has over 30 per cent population in the state.
On similar lines, the Rajasthan cabinet reshuffle also saw party stitching a caste equation with four SC cabinet ministers for the first time, three ministers from the STs and three women — one each from SC, Muslim and Gujjar communities.
“The party by picking people from SC and backward classes is sending a strong message that it stands behind these communities. The party also expects that this will have a positive impact in the poll-bound states,” said a senior leader.
The leader said getting Uttarakhand cabinet minister Yashpal Arya and his son, also a sitting BJP MLA, to return to the Congress was also part of the same strategy. The return of Arya, who had switched over to the BJP in 2017, holds importance for he is a prominent SC face in the state.
Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat had hinted that party may have a Dalit Chief Minister in state, too.
Uttar Pradesh, where general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been working hard to reach out to the people, P L Punia, a Dalit, was named as head of the party’s campaign committee in the state.
Public outreach meet next month
The Congress has decided to hold a big public outreach meeting in the national capital next month to target the Centre over its “anti-people” policies. A meeting of state chiefs was held on Monday where it was decided that the rally should be during the winter session which is scheduled from November 29. The rally will be held after party’s ongoing fortnight long Jan Jagran Abhiyan ends.