The Congress party on Thursday (June 3) appointed Imran Pratapgarhi, a famous Urdu poet and a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as its Minority Department chief. He replaced Nadeem Jawed.
Imran Pratapgarhi, who lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Moradabad on Congress ticket, campaigned for the party in last year’s Assembly poll in Bihar where it contested in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties.
His appointment has come just seven months before the Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh and is being seen as an effort by the party to woo Muslim votes. Imran Pratapgarhi has a big social media following. As an Urdu satirist, he is appreciated by people cutting across party and community lines.
Last year he took part in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act movement in Moradabad and was invited at various other places in India, most prominently at Shaheen Bagh protest site in New Delhi. Apart from his appointment, the interim president of Congress, Sonia Gandhi, also made several other organisational appointments.
A report has also been submitted to Sonia Gandhi on the party’s below the par performance in three states and a Union Territory in the recently held Assembly election. The party failed to return to power in Assam, Kerala and Puducherry while in West Bengal it, along with partner Left Front, could not open its account. It is only in Tamil Nadu that the DMK-Congress-Left Front alliance emerged victorious. The combination came to power after ten years of AIADMK rule.
While in Punjab the Congress is trying to put its house in order by bringing in truce between chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu, it is in Uttar Pradesh that it is not yet clear whether it will go in alliance with the Samajwadi Party or not. Anyway, Imran Pratapgarhi’s appointment is seen as a crucial move by the party top brass.