Imran Masood, the Congress candidate from Saharanpur, has announced that rallies of the Nehru-Gandhi Parivar have been cancelled due to ‘bad weather’. Masood said, “For now the program has been cancelled at all three places (Shamli, Bijnor, Saharanpur), due to bad weather. We are planning Priyanka ji’s roadshow tomorrow.”
Imran Masood, Congress’ candidate from Saharanpur: For now the program (Rahul Gandhi-Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s rallies) has been cancelled at all three places (Shamli, Bijnor, Saharanpur), due to bad weather. We are planning Priyanka ji’s road show tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/tGvK4h9Kpj
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 8, 2019
The Congress president and his sister, Priyanka, were supposed to address a rally at the Gandhi Park in Saharanpur to seek support for Masood. The constituency has a 42% Muslim population. The ‘Mahagathbandhan’ has fielded Fazlur Rahman from Saharanpur which includes five Assembly segments — Behat, Saharanpur, Saharanpur Dehat, Rampur Maniharan and Deoband. Bijnor district has over 43% Muslim population and the constituency has over 60% Muslim-Yadav-Dalit vote equation. Similarly, Shamli tehsil too has a large Muslim population. Shamli falls in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency that has a substantial Muslim population as well.
It is pertinent to mention that only days after confessing his profound love for Prime Minister Modi, Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to campaign for a candidate who threatened to chop Narendra Modi into pieces.
Intriguingly enough, the cancellation comes merely a day after BSP supremo Mayawati exhorted Muslims to vote for her alliance as the Congress wasn’t strong enough in the state to compete against the BJP. Mayawati had said, “I want to say this to the people of the Muslim community that you should not spilt your vote. You should consolidate your vote in the favour of the candidates of SP and RLD and make them win.”
Certain speculations have been doing the rounds that the Congress is working towards taking Upper-Caste votes away from the BJP. However, it appears Upper Caste votes may not be the only vote-bank the Congress is tapping into as the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ appears concerned by the split in Muslim votes. The introduction of Priyanka Gandhi into the equation appears to have strengthened the party much more than what the Mahagathbandhan would have ideally preferred.
There have also been rather blatant attempts by Congress allies to curb the influence of the party, which the party naturally wouldn’t have taken kindly to. The SP-BSP alliance first embarrassed the Congress by leaving only two seats for them in Uttar Pradesh. Then, Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy donated a top JD(S) leader to the BSP so that the party could win more states. Under such circumstances, the Congress was staring at staring down the throat of a permanent loss of influence in the national scene.
However, with the cancellation of Rahul and Priyanka’s rallies a day after Mayawati’s attempts to prevent a split in Muslim votes, it appears an agreement has been successfully brokered between the two factions.