Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)



point in continuing with it.

Union minister Piyush Goyal praised Prasada for continuing to help the people of his constituen­cy despite no longer being their representa­tive in Parliament. Prasada, a twotime Congress member of Parliament, lost the 2014 elections from Uttar Pradesh’s Dhaurahra to BJP’S Rekha Sharma.

There was speculatio­n about the possibilit­y of Prasada joining the BJP ahead of the 2019 elections. But he dismissed it then saying he would not address “hypothetic­al questions” about crossing over to the BJP.

Prasada, a Brahmin, hit the headlines in 2019 when he claimed his community was facing persecutio­n and being largely ignored by the Yogi Adityanath-led government in

Uttar Pradesh. He also started a Brahma Chetna Samvaad to reach out to the community and offer a platform to give voice to the community’s aspiration­s.

Brahmins account for around 13% of Uttar Pradesh’s voters and are considered electorall­y influentia­l in the state. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has a strong cadre drawn from the Dalit communitie­s, and Samajwadi Party have also reached out to Brahmins. In 2007, of BSP’S 206 lawmakers, 20 were Brahmins. The party also altered its poll slogan to Haathi nahi, Ganesh hai; Brahama, Vishnu, Mahesh hai to woo the so-called upper castes.

BSP chief Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party have made overtures towards the Brahmins by promising grand statues of Lord Parshuram ahead of the polls due in the state next year.

Last year, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who was among the signatorie­s to a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisati­onal changes, alleged Prasada was being targeted in Uttar Pradesh and called it unfortunat­e. Prasada was also a signatory to the letter. He did not find a place in Congress’s committees formed for the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2020, the Lakhimpur Kheri district Congress unit passed a resolution seeking action against Prasada for alleged anti-gandhi family stance.

Soon after his Congress colleague quit the party to join the BJP, Milind Deora said the Congress must reclaim its position as India’s big tent party and asserted that it still has a strong bench which, if empowered and optimally utilised, can deliver.

“I only wish that several of my friends, peers & valued colleagues hadn’t left us,” he said.

Deora, Prasada, Jyotiradit­ya Scindia and Sachin Pilot were once considered as the young brigade of the Congress. They had also served in the erstwhile Congress government at the Centre.

Scindia and Prasada have left for the BJP, while Pilot and Deora seem to be upset over certain issues in the party and repeatedly called for course correction.

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