With elections in mind, BJP plans Dalit outreach drive | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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With elections in mind, BJP plans Dalit outreach drive

Rajasthan BJP is planning a Dalit outreach drive to consolidate its votes in seats where there is significant presence of scheduled caste (SC) community apart from the seats reserved for SC candidate

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Jun 11, 2018 22:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News
BJP national president Amit Shah, along with CM Vasundhara Raje, have lunch at a Dalit's home in Jaipur on Sunday.(Himanshu Vyas/HT Photo)

Rajasthan BJP is planning a Dalit outreach drive to consolidate its votes in seats where there is significant presence of scheduled caste (SC) community apart from the seats reserved for SC candidate.

Assembly elections in Rajasthan are less than six months away and the ruling BJP is leaving no stone unturned to secure a second consecutive shot at power.

The party plans to build a new team of Dalit workers, Bhim Pratinidhi, to conduct its outreach drive apart from creating awareness about welfare programme launched for the community, a BJP leader said.

A meeting of BJP Anusuchit Jati Morcha was held in Jaipur on Sunday that was attended by state-level leaders, district heads and district in-charge apart from senior party leaders.

Sources said the bypoll debacle has forced the ruling party to rethink its strategy. After the bypoll defeat, the BJP had started grading of Dalit seats through a survey indicating that many incumbent Dalit MLAs may face axe. The party is likely to change most of the faces on 34 assembly seats reserved for scheduled castes.

During his visit to Jaipur in July last year, BJP national president Amit Shah had had lunch at a Dalit’s house. Some state party leaders and ministers have also had meals at Dalit households and have spent time in Dalit-dominated villages. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is doing its bit and has organised 12 mass weddings for Dalit couples across Rajasthan.

In 2013 assembly elections, the BJP had made huge inroads into traditional Dalit vote bank of Congress to bag 30 seats. The Congress had managed to win only one seat. However, after the defeat in by-elections to two Lok Sabha and one Assembly seat earlier this year, the party has got the feedback that Dalits were unhappy with BJP.

The Dalit volunteers or Bhim Pratinidhi will also be creating awareness about the government’s welfare scheme such as online helpline for registering cases under SC/ST Act, scholarships for SC students and hostels for SC students among others. The party is also banking on Ambedkar Welfare Society, which has command and respect among Dalits including the socially influential people.

Signs of caste assertion, such as riding a horse by the Dalits during wedding procession, are often met with a backlash. As per statistics presented in the Assembly, in the last one year, 38 Dalit grooms were forced to dismount from their horses in Rajasthan.

The police action following violence during the Dalit bandh on April 2 against the dilution of the SC/ST Act has also angered the community.

Dalits constitutes 18 to 20 % of total votes in Rajasthan and an increase in atrocities against the community has been a cause of worry for the party.