New Delhi: It is an argument that does not convince but Congress seems trying hard to believe in it. Party spokesman Rashid Alvi, who also happens to be from Uttar Pradesh, where a fierce battle is on in the assembly elections next month, tried to put forward the idea that parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have a caste base.
It is Dalits in the case of BSP, and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), especially the Yadavs, in the case of SP. The Congress, in Alvi does not have the advantage of a caste base, and it is this which makes the grand old party a weak contender in UP politics.
“Congress does not play caste politics,” said Alvi with a certain flourish to an unbelieving group of journalists. It may not be as incredible as it sounds. Congress certainly has given party tickets depending on the caste composition of a constituency, but no caste could claim that the party was theirs.
Another party source who wished to remain anonymous admitted that when a party ticket is given to any other caste or community as well, the vote of that group goes to the candidate. He also said that in UP, every issue is seen through a caste and community prism. He said that though agricultural output in the state was satisfactory, there was no industry and there were no new jobs.
Though the source was cautious in predicting the electoral prospects of his party, he said that
Congress would certainly improve its tally and nothing more. He has also emphasised the fact that the people of the state have not yet forgotten or forgiven the misrule of SP from 2002 to 2007, implying that though sections of the electorate was unhappy with the BSP, Mayawati's party may still have an advantage.