Bahugunas’ revolt against Gandhis complete
Lucknow: Bahugunas have always been at odds with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Rita Bahuguna, MLA from Lucknow Cantonment constituency, has followed in the footsteps of her brother and father when she announced her resignation from the Congress party.
A prominent Brahmin face in UP politics where the community has some 14 per cent of the vote, Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s exit is a rude shock to the Congress party which has been making valiant efforts to save its grace in the forthcoming election. The selection of Sheila Dikshit as the Brahmin chief ministerial face for UP must have caused heartburn forcing Rita Bahuguna to leave the grand old party she has served for 24 years.
Earlier, Hemavati Nandan Bahuguna, a flamboyant politician and a former chief minister of UP, teamed up with Jagjivan Ram and Nandini Satpathy to give a jolt to Indira Gandhi soon after she announced elections to Lok Sabha ending the Emergency rule.
The Congress for Democracy, floated by Jagjivan Ram, had joined forces with Janata Party headed by Chandrasekhar and inspired by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1977 elections. At that time, Jagjivan Ram had told a big election rally that he was used to Indira Gandhi taking mid-night decisions surprising her colleagues as well as the rivals. “I thought I should surprise Indiraji at least once with my own mid-night decision to leave the Congress party”, he quipped. Bahuguna was Jagjivan’s staunch supporter and a valued colleague. He was a charismatic and dynamic leader.
HN Bahuguna visited Vijayawada and addressed the media persons at the Press Club during the election campaign. He was an impressive speaker. He used to make light of Indira Gandhi’s contribution to the nation. He spoke of his association with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty saying that he was one of the few who could revolt and stand up to Indira Gandhi. But then, he joined the Congress (I) led by Indira Gandhi after getting disillusioned with Janata pariwar and contested the 1980 Lok Sabha elections from Garhwal constituency and won.
However, he soon left the Congress (I) in a huff, resigned from Parliament only to contest for the same Garhwal seat in a by-election in 1982 which he won. Later, he fought against matinee idol Amitabh Bachchan from Allahabad constituency in 1984 elections after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and was swept away by the sympathy wave in favour of the Congress. He was in the Congress for most of his political life, but was not very comfortable.
HN Bahuguna’s son Vijay Bahuguna was a Congress chief minister of Uttarakhand. When he could not become a CM again and had to make way for Rawat, he chose to revolt against the party high command and engineer defections. He had joined the BJP with a number of friends. He was responsible for the fall of Harish Rawat’s government for which there was a liberal contribution from the obliging Governor.
The Supreme Court’s intervention saved Rawat’s dispensation. Now, it is the turn of Vijay’s sister Rita who worked as UP Congress president for five years from 2007 to 2012. Rita Bahuguna had attacked Rahul Gandhi and the election specialist, Prashant Kishore, who has been planning the Congress campaign in UP. She said Congress president Sonia Gandhi was able to grasp the issues, but Rahul has no clue. The Congress party cannot hope to revive its fortunes under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, she said.