SP bid to woo Dalit voters

| | Lucknow
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SP bid to woo Dalit voters

Monday, 14 November 2022 | PNS | Lucknow

To counter the inroads made by the Bharatiya Janata Party among Dalit voters, particularly the Pasi community, the Samajwadi Party will now launch a Dalit outreach programme and concentrate on celebrating the Dalit icons of the   community. The efforts of the SP in this regard are also prompted by the perceptible decline of Bahujan Samaj Party and almost nil political activity by the Dalit dominated political outfit to mobalise the Pasi community in the recent past.

To begin with, the SP is scheduled to hold a programme at the party’s headquarters on the death anniversary of freedom fighter Uda Devi Pasi on December 31. The programme, to honour the sacrifice of the freedom fighter during the revolt of 1857, is a first of its kind for the SP in the state. 

The BJP has already announced plans to construct a 100-foot tall statue of Uda Devi at Mohanlalganj.

According to a senior SP leader, with the BSP struggling to retain its presence in UP, it has opened an opportunity for the SP to reach out to the Dalit voters of the state. “We are working to ensure that the community chooses us in future elections as an alternative to the BSP,” he said.

Ever since the aborted alliance with the  BSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has been  advocating the coming together of the Ambedkarvadis and Lohiavadis.  Sources in the SP said the party was only trying to strengthen the social alliance of the Scheduled Castes ad Other Backward Classes with the Dalit outreach programme.

For the last three decades, a significant section of Dalit voters have relied heavily on the BSP for political representation but the party’s performance in the state polls this year has been dismal as it could win just one seat out of the 403 it contested.  The community is seeing that the BSP is not being able to consolidate enough votes to win seats. In that case, the SP, which already has considerable support from Muslims and Yadavs, can become a viable option for the community.

The SP poll strategists feel that their party has traditionally relied on its M-Y (Muslims-Yadav) formula, and by winning over the Pasi community, which has a considerable number of voters in the central UP region, the party can add to its support base.

Apparently, to counter the moves of the SP to woo the Dalits, the BSP is trying to do the same with the SP’s traditional voters -- the Muslims. The BSP is keen to add Muslim votes to its kitty for its political revival, with Mayawati repeatedly saying that the BSP is the only party that can defeat the BJP in the state – a subtle message to the Muslims to rally behind it.

After being reduced to a mere 12.8 per cent of the vote share in the 2022 assembly elections this year, Mayawati had said the decision of Muslims to throw their weight behind the SP resulted in Dalits, upper-caste Hindus and OBCs backing the BJP to keep out the SP’s “jungle raj”.

SP leaders say the party’s latest attempt to reach out to the Dalit community through the programmes on Uda Devi Pasi will be taken to the districts.

“The initial programme will be held at the party headquarters, but we will have events in the districts near Lucknow like Rae Bareli, Barabanki and Unnao.

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