The Ram versus Parshuram battle in Uttar Pradesh has now made veteran Congress leaders demand that a Brahmin leader should be projected as a chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
With Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) trying to outdo each other by announcing installation of Parshuram statues in Lucknow — each bigger than the other — the Congress feels that by announcing a Brahmin as a chief ministerial candidate, the party can win over the community that is presently disgruntled with the BJP.
“Brahmins are not too keen on going towards the Samajwadi Party which is a pro-OBC party and the BSP with which they have had a poor experience in 2007. The BJP has not treated Brahmins well and the party’s growing outreach towards OBCs is also making them uncomfortable.
“If the Congress takes the initiative of projecting a pro-Brahmin posture, it could be a gamechanger for us,” said a former UPCC president.
He further said that if the Brahmins align with the Congress, Muslims would also shift en masse to the party and a sizeable number of Dalits would follow suit.
Senior leaders of the Congress believe that until 1991, Brahmins were with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.
“It was after Narsimha Rao became Prime Minister in 1991, that top Brahmin leaders like Narain Dutt Tiwari were side-lined. Around the same time, the Ayodhya movement gathered momentum and all Hindus, including Brahmins, went into the BJP fold,” he stated.
It was the Congress that gave the first six Brahmin chief ministers to Uttar Pradesh including Govind Vallabh Pant, Sucheta Kripalani, Kamlapati Tripathi, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, N.D. Tiwari and Shripati Mishra.
Brahmin leadership in the Uttar Pradesh Congress almost faded away after the party lost power in 1989 and the party did not hand over reins to state Brahmin leaders after that.
Konark Dixit, a young Congress leader, recently expelled for speaking against UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu, said: “Brahmin pride has been bruised by the BJP governments. The party high command should make conscious efforts to placate the community and if it does so, the party will bounce back into the political mainstream in UP.”
He said that in 2017, the Congress had picked up momentum when it declared late Sheila Dixit as its chief ministerial candidate. “The Congress slogan for the 2017 assembly polls – ’27 Saal UP Behaal’-had caught the people’s imagination but then the party forged an alliance with SP at the last minute and all efforts proved futile,” he said.
The killing of gangster Vikas Dubey after his arrest, has further irked the Brahmin community.
“No one is defending Vikas Dubey but the law does not allow any government to kill a man who has already been arrested. Is it a coincidence that all his five accomplices who were killed in exactly similar encounters, were Brahmins? The UP police certainly need some good script writers to justify its deeds,” said another senior Brahmin leader in the Congress.
BSP president Mayawati, after the Vikas Dubey encounter, had also tweeted that “The government should not do any such thing that would make the Brahmin community feel scared, terrorised and insecure.”
Even as the Congress high command shows reluctance in making up its mind on playing the Brahmin card, at least two party leaders — Jitin Prasada and Swayam Prakash Goswami — have started promoting issues related to Brahmins.
“At the moment, data tells us that Brahmin killings are disproportionately high, more than the other castes,” said Jitin Prasada who is heading his Brahmin Chetna Parishad.
Swayam Prakash Goswami, who is leading Brahma Sena, said, “There is no doubt that the Brahmin community has been pushed into political oblivion and we have to regain lost glory.”