Taking a cue from Nitish Kumars success in breaking RJD chief Lalu Prasads Muslim-Yadav support base in Bihar,the Congress,it is learnt,is banking on Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma to break Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadavs Muslim-Yadav support base in about 100 seats in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
Congress managers have reportedly identified specific constituencies where the party hopes to ride on the Kurmi and Muslim support base. The strategy has been finalised after the party assessment listed 95 Assembly constituencies with a Kurmi support base of more than 20,000 votes.
The Congress has Beni Prasad Verma as its Kurmi face to woo the community in the state. Consequently,Verma has been wielding one of the highest influences in deciding candidates in the areas with substantial Kurmi and minority support base.
While there are over 300 constituencies where minority support base is more than 20,000 votes,party strategists have identified 107 segments where Kurmi-Muslim support base is in the range of 50,000-plus votes and it can hope to consolidate it even after accounting for a division in minority votes.
The Lok Sabha results indicated that the party had performed reasonably well in the areas with Kurmi and minority support base. If we consolidate these in the Assembly polls,we hope to do much better than expected, said a Congress functionary engaged in the partys election preparations.
Party strategists feel that it is the next logical step of Mandal mobilisation where dominant Yadav community took the leadership and snatched political gains from other backward communities. This has already been tested in Bihar where Nitish,who incidentally belongs to the Kurmi community,dismantled Yadav communitys leadership and attracted minority support base to keep JD(U) in the saddle.
In this context,party managers confide that general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been consciously addressing to the most backward communities by their names in his rallies. For instance,they say,Rahul did not hesitate to point out the caste of Sam Pitroda a Vishkarma,Barahi (carpenter) in a rally in Ramabai Nagar.
At a rally in Saharanpur,Rahul referred to communities such as Ansaris,Raeen,Qureshi,Teli,Malik,Momin,Mansuri,Rangrej,Saifis and Gada by their names from among the minorities to highlight the Congresss commitment to backward classes among the minority communities.
While the Congress hopes to ride on the Muslim-Kurmi support base in areas east of Kanpur,it hopes to consolidate on Jat community along with minorities in western UP. For western UP,we hope to benefit from the consolidation of Savarna (upper castes),Jats,Muslims and most backward classes base behind the Congress-RLD combine, said a partys poll strategist.
While the Congress has inducted SPs Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood,the RLD has brought Yaqub Qureshi from Meerut and Shahnawaj Rana from Bijnore in the party fold.