Congress to hold ‘awareness drives’ to woo dalit voters
Congress leaders have said they will undertake “awareness drives” among the Dalit community in Maharashtra to explain how the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA) “indirectly helped” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena combine in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
The state Congress unit met on Sunday to devise a strategy to woo the Dalit community ahead of Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The meeting was convened by former chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to assess how the VBA damaged the party’s prospect in the Lok Sabha polls.
A senior Congress leader, who attended the meeting on Sunday, said, “We will hold local drives across the state explaining to Dalit masses that VBA is indirectly helping the BJP-Shiv Sena combine, who are set to tamper the Indian Constitution framed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. It is only the Congress which can safeguard the Constitution and hence, they need to support us in the upcoming Assembly polls.”
The meeting was attended by leaders such as Nitin Raut, Eknath Gaikwad, Varsha Gaikwad and Ramesh Bagwe.
In the Lok Sabha elections, VBA was responsible for the defeat of the Congress-NCP candidates in 11 constituencies. The VBA was able to poll 41.08 lakh votes – 7.63 % of the total votes in the state.
The VBA – which ensured the defeat of two former chief ministers, Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde – is set to contest the Assembly polls on all 288 seats.