New Delhi/Raipur, Oct 19 (UNI) The BJP poll strategists are eyeing at multi-pronged benefits by roping in senior Congress leader Ramdayal Uikey into the saffron party, just a few days before the crucial state Assembly polls.
Several BJP leaders in Raipur and Bilaspur said one obvious dividend is to get a man from the ‘inside ring’ of the enemy camp.
According to a BJP leader in Bilaspur, Mr Uikey, as the working president of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Comittee, ‘will be knowing a lot’ about the Opposition party’s broad electoral strategy and a number of probable candidates.
‘This is like getting an advance notice….Hence, some observers are not wrong in suggesting that Amit Shah has carried out a surgical strike on the Congress camp and won over Uikey,’ a party source said.
There is another benefit. Many in BJP inner circle feel Mr Uikey will ‘damage’ the Congress in Chhattisgarh, on similar patterns of Assam Finance Minister Himan Biswa Sarma, who switched over to the saffron party, just before elections in Assam.
For starters, like Mr Sarma, the new turncoat in BJP – Mr Uikey has spewed venom against Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said ‘I was a powerless working president. I tried reaching out to him for four days, but nothing happened. With Bhupesh Bhagel as Pradesh Congress chief, the party’s hopes have been dashed. I wish I could talk to Rahul Gandhi.’
In fact, after coming out of Congress, Mr Uikey has also levelled allegations against top party leaders at the state level, such as Charandas Mahant, Jaisingh Agrawal and Bhupesh Baghel.
‘There used to be conspiracy hatched by these leaders. They would say I (Uikey) should be sent to Marwahi… This was said in an insulting tone. They wanted to accommodate an alliance partner (GGG),’ Mr Uikey complained, justifying his move to return to BJP, after spending 18 pretty long years in Congress.
Mr Uikey had won the key Assembly segment Pali Tanakhar in 2013 by a margin of over 36,000 votes and thus, did not want to forego the seat and shift to Marwahi, to fight either former Ajit Jogi or his son Amit Jogi of JCC.
He also said Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress chief Mr Baghel is also an anti “SC-ST by temperament”
“On the other hand, though I was in Congress, we also saw all round development in the state and Rajnandgaon – the town represented by the Chief Minister – has emerged as one of the fastest growing towns in the area.
‘Rajnandgaon looked an underdeveloped village 15 years back, today it has all modern facilities, including a nationally acclaimed hockey stadium, to host all prestigious tournaments,” he said.
Meanwhile, though the BJP leaders say Mr Uikey’s return is ‘unconditional”, there have been enough hints that he could be fielded from the seat.
In political parlance, BJP insiders said Mr Uikey will be one of the major tribal faces for the saffron outfit in Chhattisgarh.
‘He could be in the race for deputy chief ministerhip and hence, his return is a win-win situation for both – the party and also Mr Uikey himself,’ a party source said.