New Delhi: The AICC general secretary in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into politics is not just a coincidence but looks like more of a long-term strategy and a part of it also aims to attract the Brahmin votes in Purvanchal, who were once loyal supporters of the party.
The two Gharanas which have always influenced the politics of Purvanchal are Aurangabad House of Kashi and Kashi Sadan of Bhadohi. The role of Pandit Shyamdhar Mishra of Kashi Sadan and Pandit Kamlapati Tripathi of Aurangabad House have been phenomenal in keeping the Brahmin vote intact with the Congress party, along with other backward castes.
With time the princely states ended and these Gharanas made their entry in politics. This was one of the probable reasons that compelled Priyanka Gandhi to take a boat ride from Allahabad to Bhadohi en route Varanasi, in order to revive the Brahmin, Nishad, Mallah and Kevat voters.
Speaking to CNN News18 on the same, senior political analyst and journalist, Ratan Mani Lal said, “Now when Sonia Gandhi is out of the picture, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. It seems that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are making their strategies and taking a decision on their own.”
The Aurangabad House and Kashi Sadan, both were part of the Kashi Naresh estate of Varanasi before the formation of Bhadohi district. Both Kamlapati Tripathi and Shayamdhar Mishra are still revered in this region. Shyamdhar Mishra remained a Union minister for 27 years. However, after a revolt in UPA-1 Shayamadhar Mishra left the Congress, but later backed the party after the intervention of Indira Gandhi. In the year 1962, Mishra contested elections from Mirzapur-Bhadohi seat and represented the Lok Sabha for the first time.
The contribution of Kashi Sadan in the politics of Purvanchal cannot be forgotten with time, even when Congress was losing in the state, the dominance of Kashi Sadan was very much visible in the party. Experts say that Brahmin voters were disillusioned with Congress with time and also other backward castes went along with smaller and caste-specific political outfits which resulted in deserting of Congress party by its traditional voters. However, this time Congress has fielded Laliteshpati Tripathi, the grandson of Kamlapati Tripathi from Mirzapur as the dominance of Tripathi is still relevant in Aurangabad House.
While on her boat yatra recently, Priyanka Gandhi garlanded the idol of Shyamdhar Mishra in Bhadohi. Interestingly, another family member of Shyamdhar Mishra, Neelam Mishra had also been named as the Congress regional president. The prayer at Vindhyachal Dham was also a part of Priyanka Gandhi’s strategy to re-mobilise the party cadre in order to put up a strong fight in the 2022 state assembly elections.
Pointing out at the controversy over Priyanka Gandhi contesting from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and later fielding Ajay Rai as the party candidate, Lal said, “They (Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi) seek at the moment is to reorganise the organisational structure of the party. They will do everything they can to help regain their lost vote bank.”
Saying that a lot more experiments can be expected by Congress ahead of 2022 Assembly elections, he said the boat journey, touring the temple and meeting women and children were all part of a strategy. Even taking a direct dig at the SP-BSP alliance is also a part of it, he added.