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P Chidambaram accuses BJP of using 7 phase poll in UP to polarise voters


Chennai, March 13: Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday denounced the seven-phase election schedule in Uttar Pradesh and alleged that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi used it to polarise voters.

One of the reasons for the defeat of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh was the absence of a robust party organisational structure there, he said, a day after stating that Modi had emerged as the most dominant political figure after the Assembly polls, the results of which were declared on Saturday.

Chidambaram: BJP polarised voters in UP

"The elections have clearly established that the most dominant political figure in India is Prime Minister Modi and he has a pan-India appeal," Chidambaram had told a gathering at the Indian Merchants Chamber in Mumbai on Saturday. The Rajya Sabha MP on Sunday said Modi used the intervals between poll phases to alternate between communal kabristan (graveyard) talk and downplaying such comments in the minorities-dominated areas.

"What has happened in Uttar Pradesh? In the first two phases, the presence of minorities were huge and Modi downplayed... after that the tenor of his speeches changed," he said at a public meeting here. Citing Modi's kabristan, Diwali and Eid comments, Chidambaram alleged that the Prime Minister made false allegations and polarised the people.

"If Prime Minister Modi's speeches kept changing on the basis of constituencies, day in and day out, it was because of the seven-phase election. If the election had been held in a single phase, could Modi have spoken like this?" he asked.

"What would have happened if he had talked about 'kabristan' on day one? I denounce the seven-phased election. Why can law-and-order not be maintained in a single phase... does Uttar Pradesh not have a police force?" Chidambaram asked. He said the seven-phase election was itself a complication.

Election in a state should be held on a single day and only then, the campaign speeches will be the same, Chidambaram said. Referring to his party's organisation in Uttar Pradesh, he said, "There may be many reasons for the Congress' big failure in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mischievous campaign was also a big factor. Another reason is there is no party structure," he said.

"Although there are district units of the Congress, there are no units below them," Chidambaram claimed, underscoring the need for robust party units right from the booth-level. "There are no local, circle and ward committees. Friends in Uttar Pradesh tell me this," he said. He said to achieve their aspirations, Congress cadre should immediately start strengthening the party units.


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