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'Adviser' Prashant Kishor has altered political discourse of Mamata's TMC

The party took a nuanced position on the scrapping of the provisions of Article 370; now it is mulling whether it should start reaching out to Dalits in Bengal

Business Standard 

Lok Sabha Elections 2019
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee during Lok Sabha election campaign in Visakhapatnam, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo: PTI

TMC shifts gears

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress has altered its political discourse in many ways after election strategist was roped in to advise the party. The party took a nuanced position on the scrapping of the provisions of Article 370; now it is mulling whether it should start reaching out to Dalits in Bengal. The state does not have a history of caste-based political parties, but the TMC is concerned at rival Bharatiya Janata Party’s efforts at consolidating the Dalits. The party is hoping to counter this by showcasing its Dalit leaders as the state prepares for Assembly polls in April 2021. The TMC is also speaking more often on issues of language. On Wednesday, Banerjee tweeted her concern that the joint entrance exams were now being conducted not just in English and Hindi, but also in Gujarati. She said while she loved the Gujarati language, she had no idea why other regional languages were being ignored.

One post, many names

The Congress party in Madhya Pradesh has secured its position in the state Assembly but the state unit is still struggling to tackle factionalism. As it became apparent that an announcement on the new Pradesh Congress Committee chief is imminent, minister for animal husbandry Lakhan Singh Yadav started batting for to be declared the state Congress president. “The Congress enjoys power but organisational structure remains weak. Jyotiraditya is young; if he became the state unit chief, the organisation would gain in strength,” he said. Pitted against Scindia is former chief minister Digvijaya Singh (pictured), general secretary of the All India Congress Committee. Earlier, the tribal face of Madhya Pradesh Congress and forest minister Umang Singhar had targeted Singh saying, “Even at 72, he wants to become the state party president!”

Togadia is back

Ever since he had to quit the Vishva Hindu Parishad, the outfit's former chief has struggled to be in the news. However, with the Supreme Court about to announce its verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute by mid-November, Togadia has become active once again. On Wednesday, he issued a press statement on behalf of the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Bajrang Dal. In an appeal similar to the one that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliates had issued, Togadia asked their members to maintain peace and harmony after the verdict is announced. He said if the verdict is in favour of a Ram temple, people should not indulge in sloganeering but light lamps, distribute prasad and visit a nearby temple. “Do not make any arrogant, hurtful, inflammatory posts, comments on social media or give interviews that are derogatory,” he said.

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 21:02 IST