Cong sees in Danish Ali episode opportunity to reach to its lost vote bank

Lucknow, Oct 1 (IANS): Amid the controversial row over the use of abusive language by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri against BSP MP Danish Ali in the Parliament, Congress is busy trying to meet the BSP MP to save its lost vote bank and project itself as the party standing united with the minority community across the country, in view of Lok Sabha polls.

Political experts say that these days, the Congress is making all efforts to regain its lost votes among the minorities. It is also being seen as a political strategy by the grand old party to put pressure on the Samajwadi Party, which is part of the opposition INDIA bloc, regarding the seat distribution in Uttar Pradesh.

There was a time when the Muslim community used to vote as a whole in favour of Congress but as the grand old party became weaker, this vote bank started shifting either to the Samajwadi Party or to the Bahujan Samaj Party. Therefore, the Congress has tried to send a political message by showing solidarity with the BSP MP and upping the ante againstBJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri.

A senior Congress leader said, "Ahead of the 2024 general elections, the grand old party is busy 'promoting love in the shop of hatred' (Nafrat ke Bazaar mein Mohabbat ki Dukaan), taking a direct swipe at the BJP-led Central government. That is why when a BJP member made objectionable remarks against BSP's Danish Ali in the Parliament, our senior leader Rahul Gandhi went there and gave the message that he stands in solidarity with every individual across the country who is being persecuted by the BJP."

"Rahul Gandhi has been meeting poor and low-income people since the beginning of the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'. Be it a truck driver or a carpenter, he understands everyone's pain and suffering closely. The Muslim community have always stood with Congress. Congress has given a lot of importance to these people. Regional parties have used them merely as a vote bank. If they had been so sympathetic, then they would have stood with Danish Ali. But here as well, Congress is seen standing in solidarity with the BSP MP."

On the other hand, Congress leaders are confident that Muslims will unite and vote in favour of Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Danish Ali was fielded by the BSP from Muslim-dominated seat Amroha in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources say that Mayawati is unhappy with Danish Ali's growing proximity towards the Congress. For this reason, she is not even giving him (Ali) time to meet them (Congress leaders). When the Parliament incident took place, the BSP supremo had shown her support by tweeting in favour of her party MP Danish Ali.

Speculations are rife that this time Danish Ali may leave the BSP and join Congress.

Congress is also trying to bring various Muslim leaders from other parties into its fold.

Senior political analyst Ratan Mani Lal, who has closely followed the politics of Uttar Pradesh for many decades, says that in the meantime, BSP chief Mayawati has softened her stand on the BJP.

However, previously, Danish Ali had objected to the slogan of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' in Amroha and created ruckus.

Even though Mayawati has been soft towards the BJP, Danish Ali wants to maintain a distance from the saffron party.

Meanwhile, there were reports that efforts were being made by the Congress to take BSP into the INDIA bloc to keep the Samajwadi Party under control. However, nothing has been confirmed or denied by the Congress or BSP.

When Ramesh Bidhuri made objectionable remarks against Danish Ali in the Parliament, it emerged that the statement on the BSP MP was not made since he was from the BSP but because he belongs to the minority community.

Mayawati did not condemn the incident as vociferously as she shows support on other issues.

Ratan Mani Lal says: "Danish Ali is now feeling disgruntled within the BSP. At present, Muslims will not be given as significant role in the BSP as they used to get given the party's new strategy being adopted towards Dalits and Backward Classes. Danish is seeing an opportunity to accomplish his goal in the closed door meetings which are taking place between Congress and BSP. Congress seems to be in favour of Danish Ali to bring the Muslim community back into its fold. The Samajwadi Party is not even getting that much importance from the Muslim vote bank that's why the Congress is seeing an opportunity in it."

Senior political analyst Virendra Singh Rawat says that ever since the opposition INDIA bloc was formed, Congress has been meeting different sections of the society. The grand old party wants to regain lost political ground by wooing back the Dalit or Muslim vote. Congress feels that if it continues to stand with BSP MP Danish Ali, a message will go to the Muslim community that it fights for the rights of Muslims, no matter which party they belong to, ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections next year.

Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson C.P. Rai said: "What happened with Danish Ali is the use of abusive language against the minority community. We want to stand with Danish and tell him that someone has used vulgar words against you, but the whole country is with you. The decision on ticket distribution in the opposition INDIA bloc and Assembly elections has to be taken by the party's central leadership."



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