Wednesday, March 7, 2012

[ZESTCaste] ‘Mandal leap’ worries Congress

'Mandal leap' worries Congress
Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN | Mar 8, 2012, 06.16AM IST

NEW DELHI: The UP debacle is confronting the Congress with a serious
dilemma - what should it do with the great 'Mandal leap' it took to
woo backward classes which has not delivered results but tied it to
promises that can be a political risk.

The poll promise of sub-division of OBCs and scheduled castes are
flagship commitments that, Congress leaders say, cannot be junked
midway without looking flippant. It cannot wish its poll manifesto
away because it has stoked expectations. They were devised as
strategic moves to woo 'most backward castes' and non-jatav dalits who
resent the dominance of their stronger brethren. But executing them
can be a political risk since the Congress now hopes to collaborate
with the SP and BSP at the Centre to buffer itself from the Trinamool

A quota card was aimed to hit yadavs among OBCs, and jatavs among SCs
- core constituencies of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati. While
promised in UP, these issues are part of Centre's 'to do' list and
pending with the social justice ministry.

A senior leader said the Congress would carry out these policies at
the Centre. "The part of our UP manifesto that can be implemented in
Delhi would be done," he said.

A 'go slow' on Mandal card would mark premature end to the paradigm
shift in Congress policy to break the OBC-dalit code after continued
failure over two decades in UP. Pushed aggressively by Rahul Gandhi,
Congress made it the highlight of its manifesto and campaign rhetoric.

The faith in the new policy showed in Congress nominating high number
of yadav candidates in Samajwadi den of central UP, helped by the
campaigning of Samajwadi rebels like Union minister Beni Prasad Verma.
The party also deployed Mayawati-foes like P L Punia to polarize
non-jatav dalits.

Congress faces a serious issue on what is to be done with OBC leaders
like Verma. The SP rebel was built up disproportionately to his
political clout and failed to deliver. However, downsizing him would
play directly into SP hands, and could hurt its chances with backwards
in the 2014 polls.


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