Hockey Olympian and former Union minister Aslam Sher Khan has reportedly staked a claim to the Congress president’s post, in place of Rahul Gandhi. The news comes even as suspense continues over Rahul’s latest stance on quitting the position.
According to Hindustan Times, Khan wrote a letter to the Congress president, offering his “services to the party”, taking responsibility “as a provisional Congress president for a time-bound period of two years only.”
Khan was part of the Indian hockey team that won the 1975 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. He joined the Congress and got elected as an MP from Madhya Pradesh in 1984 and 1991. He lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Bhopal constituency and 2009 election from Sagar seat, both in Madhya Pradesh. For a brief period, he was also in the BJP (between December 1997 and January 1999).
Khan claimed to have made the offer based on his experience in international sports and politics. Incidentally, he seems to be the only one to have offered to lead the Congress after Rahu Gandhi expressed his desire to relinquish the responsibility of heading the party. .
Gandhi had announced his decision to step down on May 24, following the crushing defeat of his party in the Lok Sabha elections, winning just 52 seats against BJP’s 303. However, the party leaders pleaded with him to continue to lead the party and authorised him to overhaul the organisation.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has called off her party’s ‘grand alliance’ with Akshilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh and decided to go solo in the upcoming bypoll for 11 Assembly seats.
In a meeting with her party people on Monday, Mayawati termed the alliance as bekar (useless) as there was no transfer of ‘Yadav votes’ to her party candidates in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.
She also derided Akhilesh Yadav for being unable to ensure his wife Dimple Yadav’s win. Dimple lost the Kannuaj Lok Sabha seat, which has over 3.5 lakh Yadav voters. The seat was held by her family members since 1999.
Both BSP and SP had contested 38 seats each in the state, while leaving the remainder of 80 Lok Sabha seats to other smaller parties in their ‘grand alliance’. While BSP’s tally went up from zero to 10 in 2019 elections, compared to 2014, SP remained the same with 5 seats.
Incidentally, the purpose of grand alliance was to stop the BJP from winning a significant number of seats from the state, and thereby, prevent Narendra Modi’s return as prime minister. The arithmetic of SP and BSP vote banks also indicated they could win most of the 80 seats if contested in alliance.
During the campaign, Akhilesh Yadav had repeatedly backed Mayawati for Prime Minister in case of a hung Parliament. In return, Mayawati’s BSP would help him return to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2022 Assembly elections, reports said.
However, the BJP alliance ended up bagging 64 LS seats in the state, crushing Mayawati’s hope for a grand show and the prime minister’s post.