By Sumit Jain:
Political parties are already in the campaigning mode for the 2017 UP elections. The dates for the elections haven’t been announced yet. There are four major stakeholders in the elections. The incumbent Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC).
There has been a considerable amount of media attention on Rahul Gandhi’s statewide ‘Kisan Yatra’. It started from Deoria and will end in Delhi. The movement focuses on three major demands. Increased Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers, loan waivers for them and reduction in their power bill by 50 %. He is also addressing Khat Sabhas. Rahul Gandhi is conversing with farmers while sitting on cots. Road shows are also being conducted to show the power of Congress. What is interesting to note is the number of people participating in these events.
Another aspect of this Yatra is the door-to-door campaign which is being carried out. This is arguably the most crucial and important part of the movement. Rahul Gandhi is attacking the rival political parties, left, right and centre. He mocks SP by saying that their “cycle is punctured.” He also attacks BSP by saying that their “elephant eats everything.” BJP is accused of allowing industrialists like Vijay Mallya to run away with money. Congress office bearers and ticket seekers are knocking at the doors of common households at the grass root level. They are getting the maang patra, a document assuring the farmer that his loan will be waived off if Congress forms the government in UP signed (It must be noted that it is not an official document of any sort). The signed document may be taken back to the Central government with a demand to waive off the loans.
There is still time for the elections to take place and for the strategies of rivals to emerge. Yet, this initiative of the Congress could have a strong impact on the elections. If Congress, the grand old party is able to carry the momentum till the end, it may do well in the elections. Prashant Kishor, the poll-strategist hired by Congress for UP elections and whose team is working at various levels, will not be ready to compromise on his 100 % success rate.