The municipal elections may be two years away but on Wednesday Congress and Nationalist Congress Party went all out to woo the Dalits, who constitute 15 per cent of the voting population in Mumbai.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, Sharad Pawar, and Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, were among the senior leaders who attended functions to mark the birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The NCP chose Ambedkar’s anniversary to start reaching out to the Dalits through its programme, the Sankalp Abhiyaan, keeping the February 2012 BMC elections in mind.
“Our government is spending more money in this state on the welfare of Dalits than what Mayawati spends in UP,” Home Minister R.R. Patil, said.
The NCP is happy with its performance in the few corporation elections that have been held in the state after the Assembly elections. The party had to face flak from detractors after its less then satisfactory performance in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.
The party’s performance in the Navi Mumbai corporation elections, where it managed to win independently, has given the party’s morale a boost. The NCP is now eyeing success in the BMC polls.
The Congress too went all out to reach out to Dalit voters with Chavan holding functions across the city. He visited Chaityabhoomi, Ambedkar’s final resting place, and released a book on Ambedkar’s writings at a function in Matunga.