Dalits

BSP to re-design its strategy to block wooing away of Dalits from its fold

August 10, 2014 11:23 AM
Mayawati (file pic)

BSP to re-design its strategy to block wooing away of Dalits from its fold
Lucknow, August 10: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to launch a drive to protect its cadre from poaching by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). In its drive it would expose BJP’s anti-Dalit policies and move to enlist more members by launching a fresh membership enrollment drive.
In recent parliamentary elections BSP failed to secure even a single seat in Uttar Pradesh where Mayawati was in power for two times, The BJP with the support of its allies and Dalit voters made good with 71 seats out of 80 seats. The BSP was so sadden by the results that it failed to attack on BJP or its rivals like Maulayam Singh Yadav for being anti-Dalits.

 Its vote share at 27.42 percent was the highest compared to the SP's 23.26 percent and Congress' 17.25 percent in 2009. The vote share dropped to 19% in 2014.

Under direction from BSP Chief Mayawati to stem the rot, BSP leaders met on Friday to discuss ways to stop political rivals, especially the BJP, from weaning away Dalits. Many party leaders were convinced that BJP was successful in making into the Dalits vote bank specially in UP.

"The BJP leaders are aggressively meddling in issues concerning Dalits to project themselves as their saviours," said a leader who attended Friday’s meeting held to chalk out strategies to blunt the saffron party's moves.

The leader cited the example of a dispute between Dalits and Muslims over the removal of a loudspeaker from a Dalit temple in Kanth area of Moradabad district last month. Several BJP parliamentarians and legislators had gone to the area demanding restoration of the loudspeaker.

"They are also interfering in tiffs between Dalits and Muslims in west UP. We cannot remain silent spectators to their plan to polarise the voters," the BSP leader said.

The BSP leaders plan is to visit the trouble spots and take up with the administration the disputes involving Dalits but without communalising the atmosphere.

"Our aim is to prevent flare-ups and ensure fair probe into the incidents," said BSP state unit president Ramachal Rajbhar.

Although the BSP has decided not to contest the by-elections to 12 assembly seats, the party plans to challenge its rivals at the local bodies’ election. Keeping that in mind, the BSP district and divisional office bearers were directed to focus on the party membership drive.

Party leaders said a Bahujan Voluntary Force (BVF) will be constituted at the district and divisional level as well. The force plays an important role in the mobilisation of the party supporters in the public meetings.

Taking advantage of the divide created by the last year's bloody Hindu-Muslim clashes in Muzaffarnagar, the BJP had managed to woo a sizable number of loyal BSP voters among the Jatav (Dalit) community in the west UP.

The BSP had won 20 seats (out of total 80 seats in UP) in 2009 LS polls, which placed it behind SP's 23 and Congress' 21. But it failed to open its account this general election.

Its vote share at 27.42 percent was the highest compared to the SP's 23.26 percent and Congress' 17.25 percent in 2009. The vote share dropped to 19% in 2014.

In fact, after stitching a Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim coalition, its vote share had exceeded the percentage of Dalits in the state, which is 20.5% in UP.

In the review meeting held after the declaration of Lok Sabha poll results, Mayawati had directed the party leaders to chalk out a plan to counter the saffron brigade's strategy to polarise the voters, particularly the Jatavs.

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