The two most distinguished political personalities of the country – PM Dr Manmohan Singh and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi - are conspicuous by their absence till now from ‘Battle Uttar Pradesh’. By contrast, even reluctant and limited Priyanka Gandhi Vadra looks unfolding in joining her brother and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for ‘Mission UP’. Significantly, with voting in Punjab and Uttarakhand over, it appears more like ‘election or rejection Rahul’ in Uttar Pradesh. Even Congress president Sonia Gandhi seems to have chosen to maintain a relative low profile.
Can one escape reading something or start speculating about possible scenarios post March 6 (counting day). Will it be Sonia’s Congress or Rahul’s Congress? Will he be confined to the ‘pradesh’ after having long walks, overnight stays and sleeves rolled up fiery speeches - bearded, young angry man lookalike body language? And just to add to the spin, no Congress leader in recent memory has named the party’s chief ministerial candidate, publicly, and that too from an election stage in Punjab. Is Rahul trying to give a message that by earning and snatching Uttar Pradesh, he will be able to assertively shred the ‘fatcha’, ‘dynastic’ tag and his voice will be one word ‘command’ in concentric Congress. Much will depend on the outcome in his ‘karma bhoomi’.
Now, what about Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh? Except for four election rallies in Punjab and Uttarakhand, he is yet to debut in Uttar Pradesh, though he was the one to have ‘practically’ kicked off the Congress campaign in the state from Bundelkhand along with Rahul. But why not now? Yes, it is true by his own admission that he is not a popular speech maker, but how can one forget that even at the time of 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he used to at least do ‘press conferences’.
No doubt Sonia, Rahul and now even Priyanka routinely endorse his premiership (now in 9th year), but then the question will not be irrelevant to ask - what after March 6 (Manmohan-2 government will be completing yet another anniversary in the last week of May). But, nearing that many questions will crop up - elections for President and Vice President being the prominent ones.
Another challenge that is likely to find resonance is how to reward or punish the heroes and zeroes of Uttar Pradesh and PM can hardly afford to remain aloof (depending on results), though he is on record confirming that the last Cabinet expansion was the final one before 2014 (though already Ajit Singh is in). It is also true that UPA-2 (Manmohan-2) has seen its worst in the last 12 months and after undergoing free for all-fall of all, perhaps it is time to work and erase memories like ‘policy paralysis’, `squeak and squabble’ and ‘delirium and passé'.
But then, will the things remain same; in all probability not. Forget the ‘young’, even some ‘oldies’ (this or that side) are contemplating some ‘action’ post-Assembly elections. In disarray and desolation - can ‘battle of desperates’ be ruled out post-polls?
Now, let us have a look at Priyanka, confined till now to Amethi and Raebareli, but itching to go beyond? What about her first ‘formal’ press conference? And she is not there canvassing for an Assembly election and not for her mother and brother directly. Is she stepping up? Or is she not? Read her challenging words ‘Main aaun kya?’, though aimed at the BJP and the BSP but may be heard differently within her party! And, did she also not endorse Chidambaram - most vocal by anybody from within the Congress in recent times? Why?
So, are we witnessing the trailer of a new ‘order in making’ within the Congress party and the ‘Party in Power’? Much will depend on the mandated order of the 20 crore plus electorate. My reasoning tells me - pro or adverse verdict, status quo might sooner or later give way to new ‘arrangements’ in place - Congress looks all set to experiment with or reap the benefits of its demographic dividends - chosen or without choice - shape and size not yet known though contours being laid out.