With assembly elections in Chhattisgarh due later this year, the Congress is attempting to gain some influence on OBC votes in the state after appointment of Tamradhwaj Sahu, Congress MP from Durg, as president of the OBC wing of All Indian Congress Committee (AICC). This comes a week after Congress, despite not having the numbers, put up Lekhram Sahu as its nominee for the Rajya Sabha seat.
On Thursday, when Sahu returned to Chhattisgarh for the first time after the announcement of his appointment as president of the Congress OBC wing, he received a massive welcome. On Twitter, party general secretary in charge of the state affairs P L Punia said, “Grateful thanks to Congress President Sh Rahul Gandhi for appointing Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu MP as National Chairman of the OBC Deptt. AICC. Right person for a right job. Great honour to Chhattisgarh. Jai Ho.”
Senior Congress leaders told The Indian Express that the party wanted to make gains in the plains, and make inroads into OBC votes. “The Chhattisgarh elections have always been close. In the last polls, we did very well in tribal seats in Bastar and Surguja. But BJP took almost all SC seats, and had a lead in the other seats in the plains which have a strong OBC influence. We feel there is an anger and are signalling that we are ready to give the community, such as the Sahu samaj, importance,” a leader said.
Grateful thanks to Congress President Sh Rahul Gandhi for appointing Sh Tamrdhwaj Sahu MP as National Chairman of OBC Deptt. AICC. Right person for a right job. Great honour to Chattisgarh. Jai Ho. #OfficeOfRG
— P L Punia (@plpunia) March 27, 2018
BJP spokesperson Sachidananda Upasne said, “In their greed for OBC votes, their appointment of Tamradhwaj Sahu is a two-faced move. It is the same Congress that had stalled a Bill to create a OBC commission.”