Lakhs of Dalits and followers have gathered at Shivaji Park in Mumbai to pay tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Chaityabhoomi on his 60th death anniversary on Tuesday. Similarly, local politicos are making their presence felt by holding rallies, entertaining the crowd with folk songs, distributing eatables and literature depicting the life of the architect of the Indian constitution.
It appears that politicians are using this opportunity to woo Dalit masses, who constitute nine per cent of vote bank in the state and even more in certain pockets. Moreover, the upcoming 2017 BMC polls have made parties even more aggressive.
For example, the Bharatiya Janata Party kick started its programme from Sunday just as Dalits and Ambedkar followers arrived in the city. “Our party workers are offering them tea and snacks from Sunday itself. We have also kept literature on Dr Ambedkar for them,” said Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar.
Similarly, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is distributing eatables to the people who have gathered at Shivaji Park. The Congress party has organised for ‘Bhim Bhajans’ a programme which will have eminent artistes singing praises of Dr Ambedkar. “A large contingent of Congress party workers are offering all possible assistance to the people,” said Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party of India (RPI) will see its chief Ramdas Athawale, who is also a union minister, addressing the Dalit masses in the evening. The RPI workers have arranged accommodations at Buddha Vihars across Mumbai for those visiting the city from across Maharashtra.
With the prestigious 2017 BMC polls just two months away, political parties are utilising every possible opportunity to woo the masses. The BJP, which plans to fight the polls without its ally Shiv Sena, is making its presence felt during all the festivals in its bid to connect with people and strengthen its vote banks. Similarly, the Congress and the NCP are leaving no stone unturned to dethrone the BJP-Sena that has been ruling the BMC for decades.