Congress pins UP revival hopes on Dalit voter base

In a bid to forge a powerful alliance ahead of the pivotal 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party is honing its strategy to capture the substantial Dalit vote bank in Uttar Pradesh (UP), a state commanding the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the country. Spearheading this mission is none other than the national president of the Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge, a distinguished Dalit leader reportedly being prepped to contest from a strategically chosen seat in UP.
The revitalised strategy follows a reshuffle in the UP Congress’ leadership, illuminating the party’s renewed emphasis on gaining ground in a state viewed as a linchpin in securing a formidable presence at the centre. Congress insiders share that Kharge’s candidature is anticipated not only to uplift the Congress but also to buttress the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates courtesy of their alliance under the India Alliance umbrella.
Congress strategists are vigilantly assessing the potential seats favourable for Kharge, with deliberations steering towards Etawah, traditionally an SP bastion. This tactical move is aimed to consolidate the alliance’s standing in adjoining constituencies, thereby forging a stronger front.
Kharge’s potential nomination comes amidst conjectures of BSP leader Mayawati’s diminishing hold over the Jatav community, a significant faction within the Dalit demographic. With the political landscape witnessing this shift, the Congress envisages stepping in as the natural successor to this waning legacy.
While these strategized moves are in embryonic stages, and Kharge might also contest from his traditional Karnataka seat, the undercurrents are suggestive of a calculated approach to woo the Dalit electorate by fielding prominent leaders, thereby aiming to recapture its erstwhile Dalit vote bank.
Furthermore, in the evolving electoral dynamics, stalwarts like Rahul Gandhi are poised to retain their traditional constituencies, with new entrants like Priyanka Gandhi potentially stepping in to contest from Prayagraj, pending Sonia Gandhi’s decision on Rae Bareli amidst health concerns.
Despite the formidable challenge of lacking a mass leader in UP to spearhead its electoral campaign, the Congress remains optimistic. The party is banking on this strategic shift to rekindle its rapport with the Dalit community, a crucial vote base that has historically oscillated between various political factions.
While the road ahead is rife with challenges, the strategic moves echoing in the Congress corridors reflect a determined bid to recalibrate its UP strategy, targeting a political resurgence by winning the confidence of the crucial Dalit electorate. This critical voter base stands as a potential game-changer, promising a seismic shift in UP’s political dynamics, as the Congress and SP eye a robust coalition to steer their fortunes in the upcoming elections.

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