BJP working on strategy to win over Dalit vote bank

| | Lucknow
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BJP working on strategy to win over Dalit vote bank

Tuesday, 03 October 2023 | PNS | Lucknow


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leaving no stone unturned as it gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, aiming to secure its position at the helm for the third consecutive time as it is diligently working on a strategy to win over the crucial Dalit vote bank, recognising its potential to significantly impact the electoral outcome.
In recent history, be it the elections of 2014, 2017, 2019, or 2022, the Dalit vote bank has consistently supported the BJP, leading to the party’s triumph in both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. As the 2024 elections loom on the horizon, the BJP is revisiting the same blueprint for victory.
At a high-profile gathering of the Scheduled Caste Morcha at the BJP headquarters in Lucknow, senior Dalit leaders from BJP held a brainstorming meeting. A similar congregation was held before the 2022 assembly elections. Now, with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Dalit leaders have once again united at the party office.
The BJP has 17 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats from Scheduled Caste (SC). Three Rajya Sabha members from the BJP also represent the SC. The party’s dominance extends to the state assembly as well, where 84 seats are reserved for the SC.
In the 2022 assembly elections, the BJP won 63 of these reserved seats, securing an overwhelming majority for the second consecutive term.
However, in the recent Ghosi by-election, the BJP lost to SP by over 40,000 votes, primarily because of the Dalit vote bank’s tepid response. This setback has prompted the BJP leadership to re-evaluate its outreach to the Dalit community. In the recent meeting, discussions centered around how to rekindle the trust of the Dalit community and garner their support once again in the 2024 elections.
UP boasts of a Dalit population of approximately 22%. Jatavs comprise 54% of the total Dalit population. The remaining 46% population comprises Pasi, Dhobi, Kori, Khatik, Dhanuk, and others.
The BJP acknowledges that the Dalits have consistently supported the party since 2014, leading to its continuous ascent to power. As for the Jatav vote bank, it is perceived as a core stronghold of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
In the 2022 assembly elections, despite securing only one seat, BSP garnered 12% of the vote share, with Jatavs bank being its predominant voters. Consequently, the BJP is particularly keen on winning over this critical vote bank.
To garner the Dalits’ support, the BJP has devised a plan to organise meetings throughout the state. Representatives from various SC communities will be invited to attend these conferences which will be addressed by the chief minister, deputy chief ministers, Central government ministers, state president, and senior party officials.
Another significant decision made during the office meeting is to encourage Dalit MPs, MLAs, and ministers to allocate the majority of their development funds to Dalit settlements. This includes prioritising concrete roads, installing hand pumps, improving solar lighting, and enhancing the electricity infrastructure in these areas.
These improvements are expected to be highlighted when the party representatives seek votes during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Furthermore, the meeting also stressed on the importance of organising special programmes on the birth and death anniversaries of prominent Dalit leaders, with the active participation of public representatives.
Presently, as part of the Seva Pakhwada (Service Fortnight) initiated by the BJP, the Scheduled Front has commenced the Basti Sampark Abhiyaan (Settlement Outreach Campaign), which aims to engage with the residents of Dalit settlements.
Notably, MPs, MLAs, ministers, and senior party officials are actively participating in this campaign, with a goal of reaching 2,000 Dalit settlements daily over the course of seven days.
BJP’s Scheduled Morcha state president Ramchandra Kanojia said that the party officials would strive to visit approximately 30,000 Dalit settlements, including the participation of MPs, ministers, MLAs, Legislative Council members, and Rajya Sabha members. The objective is to connect with the residents of these settlements, understand their concerns, and address them effectively, thus strengthening the BJP’s appeal within the Dalit community.

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