Lucknow: Having given up all hopes of an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is now going all out to woo the Dalits.
The party will use the upcoming Ambedkar Jayanti to kick off its campaign.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav will unveil a statue of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram at a function in Rae Bareli on April 3.
According to party sources, in his address, Akhilesh will recall BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s alliance with SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1993 and underline the need for another ‘coming together’ of the forces in the present political scenario.
SP national general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya said, “The BSP today has strayed away from the path shown by its founder Kanshi Ram and Babasaheb Ambedkar. There is an urgent need for the followers of Kanshi Ram and Mulayam Singh Yadav to join hands once again for nation building. It is time to carry forward their idea of social justice that the two leaders had first shared in 1993.”
According to sources, the SP leadership feels that an OBC-Dalit combination, in at least a dozen Lok Sabha constituencies, has the ability to be a game changer on the strength of its numbers.
In the political circles, the move is being seen as SP’s latest strategy to win over non-Jatav Dalits who had sided with the BJP in the 2022 Assembly polls and also make a dent in the BSP’s Jatav vote base.
The party’s broad frame of this strategy was also noticeable in the recently constituted national executive committee of the party. Where 62 members in the committee — around 35 per cent — were from non-Yadav OBC communities particularly from electorally influential communities like Pasi, Kurmi, Rajbhar and Nishad.
A total of six members in the national executive committee list were Dalits.
Besides, of late, Akhilesh has been seen making a conscious effort to promote Ayodhya MLA Avadhesh Prasad as the Dalit face of the party.
The nine-term MLA, who currently represents the Milkipur Assembly constituency of Ayodhya, not only shares a seat next to party president Akhilesh Yadav in the state Assembly but was also seen sharing the dais with Yadav during the two-day party’s national executive meet in Kolkata recently.
Akhilesh even tweeted a selfie with Awadhesh Prasad and Shivpal Yadav on board a flight to Kolkata, to underline the growing stature of the Milkipur MLA in the party.
His rising stature in SP is being seen as Akhilesh’s attempt to send across the message that the party is willing to give a special status to Dalits — who were till now seen as a dedicated and exclusive voter base of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The SP, which had floated Babasaheb Vahini on Ambedkar Jayanti in 2021, now plans to strengthen the organisation within the party.
The Vahini has been asked to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti in a grand manner in all districts.