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BSP plans to counter Jignesh’s moves in west UP

Dalit leader and newly elected MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mewani’s move to tie up with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar has compelled the BSP to draw a fresh plan to counter the two Dalit leaders in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

lucknow Updated: Jan 15, 2018 14:29 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BSP,West Uttar Pradesh,Jignesh Mewani
The plan of the BSP to spread base in Gujarat received a setback due to Jignesh factor and the party’s vote share dropped in comparison to 2012 and 2007 assembly elections.(HT)

Dalit leader and newly elected MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mewani’s move to tie up with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar has compelled the BSP to draw a fresh plan to counter the two Dalit leaders in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Though Chandrashekhar is lodged in Saharanpur district jail on charges of inciting caste violence in the area, members of his organization are active in west UP. Jignesh, who has emerged as the Dalit leader after Gujarat assembly elections, is trying to mobilize members of Jatav community, who are traditional supporters of the BSP. Jignesh not only organized a rally in Delhi in support of Chandrashekhar but also visited Saharanpur to meet the Bhim Army chief in jail.

A senior BSP leader said the party was maintaining a close watch on the activities of Jignesh and the Bhim Army. The party had plans to organize cadre camp in the districts of west UP, in which senior BSP leaders will tell the party supporters how Jignesh and Chandrashekhar were trying to weaken the BSP to serve their political interest, he said.

The Congress, which had supported Jignesh in Gujarat assembly elections, might be promoting Jignesh and Chandrashekhar as well to regain the support of the Dalit community in UP.

The plan of the BSP to spread base in Gujarat received a setback due to Jignesh factor and the party’s vote share dropped in comparison to 2012 and 2007 assembly elections.

The BSP had fielded candidates on 182 seats in Gujarat and got 2,07,007 votes (0.7 %) in 2017. Whereas in the 2012 assembly elections, it fielded candidates on 163 assembly seats, failed to open account and polled 1.25% votes. In the 2007 assembly elections, the BSP had fielded candidates on 166 seats in Gujarat but failed to win any seat. Yet it had polled 2.62% votes.

The BSP has plans to show its strength across UP on Monday, when celebrations for the 62nd birthday of the party chief Mayawati kicks off in 75 districts. The aim is to send a message to the Dalit community that Mayawati is the top leader of the Dalits.

Her birthday will be celebrated as ‘Jankalyankari Diwas during which party leaders will help the needy, poor and the handicapped. They will also visit Dalit hamlets and hospitals and distribute fruits and blankets among the poor people.

After the birthday celebrations, the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha election is slated to be finalized. Once that is done, Mayawati will launch the election campaign by addressing public meetings across the state. Her brother Anand Kumar, who has been made national vice president of the party, as well as nephew Akash, who has been portrayed as the young face of the BSP, are likely to accompany Mayawati in the election campaign.

The victory of the BSP on two mayoral seats in west UP as well as Nagar Palika Parishad and Nagar Panchayats in the urban local bodies has boosted the moral of the party cadre after its humiliating defeats in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly elections. Now the party hopes to project itself as the main challenger to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Playing down Jignesh-Chandrashekhar alliance, BSP stat eunit president Ramachal Rajbhar said the BSP votebank was intact and the plans of the two Dalits to woo our supporters would not succeed.

Calling Jignesh a creation of media and the Congress, BSP Gujarat unit leader Chattu Ram said Jignesh’s effort to mobilize Dalits in adjacent Maharashtra and Gujarat failed and now he was trying to enter UP. “The members of the Dalit community know that Mayawati is their leader and has been fighting for their cause. Jignesh will not be able to win the support of the community in UP too,” he said.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 14:29 IST