BJP’s Dalit outreach in Uttar Pradesh will get a fresh push next month.
Less than seven months to go for assembly election, the BJP will deploy its Dalit MPs to woo the community members in 85 assembly constituencies reserved for SCs.
The BJP did poorly on these seats in the 2012 assembly election, winning just 3 out of total 85. The Samajwadi Party won 58 of them, followed by Bahujan Samaj Party (15), Congress (4), Rashtriay Lok Dal (3) and independents (2).
“We won all SC reserved Lok Sabha seats in 2014. We want a repeat of it in 2017 assembly election,” a BJP leader involved with party affairs in Uttar Pradesh told HT. This outreach with be limited to the involvement of 18 Dalits of BJP from Uttar Pradesh and prominent SC faces from across the country will be deployed at a later stage.
Dalits account for nearly 22 % of Uttar Pradesh’s population and have largely voted for Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, most prominent SC leader from the state. With desertion of leaders from the BSP, the BJP sense an opportunity to wean away its support base as well.
The BJP is trying hard to edge out the BSP from the race, with reiteration that the fight in Uttar Pradesh was between it and the ruling Samajwadi Party.
Mayawati, though, has countered this with an fierce show of strength on the streets of Lucknow recently over the controversial remarks by UP BJP vice president Dayashankar Singh, now expelled from the party. There were initial worries in the BJP, which feared that Singh’s statement could help Mayawati consolidate her grip over Dalit. “Half of the battle will be won if we are able to dent the SC’s support base among the Dalits. Hence this exercise,” a union minister from western Uttar Pradesh said.
UP BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, however, said that the BJP intends to reach out to every section of the society and every MP will have a role to play. Starting August, each BJP MP will spend 10 days in a month outside his parliamentary seats. “A committee is being set up to coordinate the tour programme of each MP to ensure maximum outreach and avoid overlaps,” Maurya told HT.
The BJP has tried to energize its cadre through meetings of its committee at the level of booths – 1.40 lakh of them in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has got its committee at nearly 80 % of booths and party chief Amit Shah has held their meeting in each of the six zones that the party has created at organizational level.