From Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Mission 2017 to capture power in Uttar Pradesh has prompted a major political move which is to play aggressive dalit card to woo member of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes who constitute more than 22 per cent of the total population.
Keeping the next assembly polls in mind, BSP supremo Mayawati also sent two dalits Raja Ra, and Veer Singh to Rajya Sabha.
This was done to consolidate the core vote bank of BSP, part of which had shifted to BJP during last Lok Sabha polls. It would be worth mentioning here that BSP could not win a single seat in Lok Sabha.
Admitting shift in her vote bank, Mayawati said that although she believed in sarv samaj policy, she was sending daltis to Rajya Sabha in the interest of her core voters.
Realising the exodus of her voters to BJP, she had warned dalits that they would only be used as a tool to increase the tally by the saffron party.
Congress also realised that it was high time that it should make efforts to bring back its original dalit voters back to party fold.
At a time when senior leaders like former union ministers Beni Prasad Verma and Salman Khursheed were making sincere efforts to make it to Raj Sabha, Congress high command decided in favour of its dalit face PL Punia.
It would be worth mentioning here that PL Punia had been an IAS officer in UP and worked in key departments. He became Congress MP from Barabanki reserved seat and was made chairman of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribe Commission.
With the nomination of Punia, Congress has attempted to send the message to dalits all over the country that the party selected the persons who have working records to safeguard their interests.
Samajwadi Party by supporting Punia to send him to Rajya Sabha not only settled score with BSP but succeeded in sending across a message to the dalits that party as well as Akhilesh Yadav government in UP were serious about dalits.
Samajwadi Party national president Mulayam Singh Yadav has been saying that his party government had always worked to safeguard interest of dalits and provided them protection.
With Narendra Modi as PM, BJP is also making serious efforts to capture power in 2017 this is what Modi and party president Amit Shah have been saying all through.
BJP got a boost when a large number of dalits voted for party candidate to make Narendra Modi the PM in general elections 2014.
As a follow up, BJP leaders in UP have been asked to maintain good relations with dalits and share meals with them at regular intervals.
The saffron party is giving importance to dalits leaders in the organisation from state level to grass root level.
It may be mentioned here during the three-day conclave of RSS in Lucknow, instructions were given to workers and leaders by supremo Mohan Bhagwat that all attempts should be made to win over dalits and regular meetings should held in their areas.
As part of their strategy, BJP leaders are under instructions to support dalits if they are found to be involved in tussles with any other community.
A senior BJP leader said that party always supports dalits so much so top leaders had earlier visited the residence of dom raja in Varanasi to have food with him.
In addition, top leaders, including union home minister, Rajnath Singh, who is MP from Lucknow, have adopted those villages under PM scheme that have a sizeable population of dalits. (IPA Service)