Lucknow, Jul 14: The ruling Samajwadi Party and Opposition BJP today claimed Congress' decision of naming Sheila Dikshit its chief ministerial candidate for next year's Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh would not cut much ice with the voters.
Calling the decision as an "internal matter" of Congress, senior SP leader C P Rai said, "It has to be seen as to how Dikshit can mobilise the party workers who have remained demoralised for over two decades." BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the "package" announced by Congress is not going to change its policies or its future in the politically-crucial state.
"Congress has been piggy-backing the Samajwadi Party in UP and will continue to play as the B team of SP," Pathak said.
Congress today chose 78-year-old Dikshit, a Brahmin, as its face for the polls considering "her strong credentials as Chief Minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms" to enable the party regain support of the electorally-sizeable community.
The Brahmin community, a traditional Congress vote bank, is believed to have shifted its allegiance to BJP in the aftermath of the Mandir-Mandal politics.
A large chunk of Brahmin votes had gone to Mayawati's BSP in the past when she gave tickets to many candidates belonging to that community, whose support determines the poll outcome in several seats in central and eastern UP. The announcement comes days after the Congress appointed actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar as the party chief of the state.
The party also announced coordination and campaign committees for Uttar Pradesh which will be headed by Sanjay Singh and Pramod Tiwari respectively. Dikshit thanked the party leadership for entrusting her with such a "big responsibility" and said Congress will take on ruling Samajwadi Party, BJP and BSP equally.