Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The BJP set off alarm bells within the Congress on Wednesday by engineering the crossover of another young leader, former Union minister Jitin Prasada. With this, the party appears to have made clear its intention of poaching the remaining young talent within the Congress, a ploy that began with the induction of Jyotiraditya Scindia.
A similar exercise in Rajasthan is a work in progress. Union minister for railways Piyush Goyal did the honours for inducting Prasada. Giving a perspective to the latest acquisition, BJP’s media in-charge Anil Baluni recalled that Jitin’s father Jitendra Prasada had once contested against Sonia Gandhi for the Congress chief post, suggesting the door was open for leaders of substance who were otherwise rotting in opposition parties.
While Prasada lost a couple of Lok Sabha elections ever since the rise of the BJP in UP, he had served as a minister during the UPA tenure. He was a signatory to the letter by 23 Congress leaders who had demanded a full-time Congress president earlier.
Saffron camp hopes to gain from weakening of Congress
Prasada , a Brahmin, had represented Shahjahanpur (2004) and Dhurara (2009) Lok Sabha constituencies. With the Congress hoping to wean away the Brahmin constituency in UP in the forthcoming Assembly elections, Prasada could help stem the erosion in the BJP’s vote bank.
While Prasada may have lost much of the political turf on his home ground due to the Congress’ marginalisation in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP hopes to gain from the weakening of the main Opposition party in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra to keep its 2024 script intact.
The Himanta Biswa Sarma experiment in Assam has already handed the BJP a fall back option to beat anti-incumbency by creating a talent drought in the Congress.
The BJP will also hope that Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot is able to turn rebellious again with enough strength to hand over power in the state to the party.
With the BJP’s own house in Rajasthan not in order, an “outside help” can be of strategic interest for the party’s top brass to reset the equations in the state, remarked a key BJP strategist.