It seems like the defeat of Amethi in 2019 is still stinging the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. To show how he is hurt by the electoral defeat in this Uttar Pradesh, recently the Gandhi scion said that he does not like mangoes from Uttar Pradesh but loved the ones from Andhra Pradesh.
“I don’t like UP aams. I like Andhra’s. It is a matter of taste. Langda is doable. Dussheri is too sweet for me,” Gandhi said. Just months before the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi openly saying that he does not like mangoes from the state has been considered a significant development.
Yogi Adityanath retaliates
Rahul’s statement about mangoes in Uttar Pradesh snowballed into a massive political storm after chief minister Yogi Adityanath minced no words in calling him divisive for having rejected the state’s famous mangoes. Sharing the video of Rahul Gandhi where he dismissed Uttar Pradesh’s mangoes, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted, “Shri Rahul Gandhi ji, your taste is divisive. The entire country is aware of your divisive upbringing. The impact of disruptive values is so strong on you that you have reduced even the taste of fruits to regionalism. But remember, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the taste of India is one.”
श्री @RahulGandhi जी, आपका ‘टेस्ट’ ही विभाजनकारी है। आपके विभाजनकारी संस्कारों से पूरा देश परिचित है।— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) July 23, 2021
आप पर विघटनकारी कुसंस्कार का प्रभाव इस कदर हावी है कि फल के स्वाद को भी आपने क्षेत्रवाद की आग में झोंक दिया।
लेकिन ध्यान रहे कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक भारत का ‘स्वाद’ एक है। pic.twitter.com/VMtiyNtnCY
On the other hand, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Ravi Kishan took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, saying he does not like the mangoes of Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh does not like Congress.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time since Rahul Gandhi’s embarrassing poll drubbing in Uttar Pradesh that he has criticised the state. Gandhi had found himself embroiled in a controversy earlier as well when he compared UP unfavourably with Kerala after losing in Amethi but winning in Kerala’s Wayanad.
“It is much easier to talk policy in Kerala…simple, straightforward, extremely solid political mobilisation at the grass-roots level. The system responds very quickly. It is not a political war but I love going there. I feel happy, I feel like I’ve come home. There is affection, there is mutual affection,” Gandhi had said. He further added that in Uttar Pradesh, there is an utter break between communities and therefore negotiations are much more complex and much harder to undertake.
Mayawati trying to please Brahmins, Ram temple on poster
While Rahul Gandhi insults the produce of Uttar Pradesh, other opposition leaders are carefully preparing their parties for the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. Mayawati’s BSP is all geared to shed its Dalit-only image as it has started talking about fostering unity between Brahmin and Dalit communities. In an attempt to woo Hindus, BSP also held a convention in Ayodhya and posters of the party had a picture of Ram Lalla along with the under-construction Ram Temple.
BSP also plans to organize ‘Brahmin seminars’ at various places in the state. The party, which had once to power by abusing and intimidating Brahmins, has evidently changed its election strategy and launched a charm offensive to lure Brahmin voters to its fold. A campaign has been started to connect Brahmins with BSP in 75 districts by organizing ‘Brahmin Seminars’ in religious cities like Mathura, Kashi and Prayagraj. The disastrous result in the 2017 elections, when BSP could win only a paltry 19 seats in the assembly elections, seems to have precipitated the current change in the party’s strategy.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also realises the caste dynamics in the state and has started warming up to Hindus by visiting temples in Chitrakoot. He recently also organised celebrations for ‘Parshuram Jayanti’ at his party headquarters. At the same time, Akhilesh Yadav, also spoke highly about Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, something which he has restrained so far because of his “secular” compulsions.
However, BJP claims that the people of Uttar Pradesh can see through the insincere attempts made by the political leaders to lure the voters. Brajesh Pathak, a minister in the BJP government, said that Brahmins will no longer go side with the BSP as they have understood Mayawati’s intentions behind her campaign of flattering Hindus. He termed the move of BSP as irrelevant and superfluous.
Demand for Muslim Deputy CM, will there be an alliance of SP-AIMIM?
Though Akhilesh Yadav is endeavouring to portray a pro-Hindu image to the UP masses, there are rumours going on about his possible alliance with firebrand leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM for the upcoming polls in the state. Owaisi has announced that if the Samajwadi Party promises to make a Muslim candidate as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, then they can think of joining hands with Akhilesh Yadav’s party. He said that if all the parties are united against the BJP and if a senior Muslim leader is made Deputy CM, then there can be an alliance with the SP.
The party’s state president Shaukat Ali said that the ‘Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha’ is ready to contest the elections together with the SP but on one condition. Asaduddin Owaisi is scheduled to meet workers in Prayagraj, Fatehpur, Kaushambi and other adjoining districts during his visit in early August. Along with this, he will also have to meet the ‘intellectuals’ of Muslim and Dalit society. The AIMIM has declared it will fight in all 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, stating that it is doing so to prevent the division of 20 per cent of Muslim votes.