Safeguard Dalit and backward votes: RSS to Uttar Pradesh BJP

Safeguard Dalit and backward votes: RSS to Uttar Pradesh BJP

 

New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has urged the Bharatiya Janata Party to reach out to the Dalits and backward communities in Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the 2019 general election with the message that the BJP has done the most for them, an attempt to contain the potential fallout of the alliance between the two main regional rivals. The RSS has also sought a better coordination with the state BJP unit, BJP leaders told ET after an RSS-BJP coordination meeting held in Agra on Wednesday in the backdrop of the recent violent protests by Dalits and the BJP’s loss in bypolls to two Lok Sabha seats following the tie-up between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
With the alliance of the SP and the BSP, which count backward communities and Dalits respectively as their main supporters, the sheer caste arithmetic has turned formidable for the BJP, prompting the RSS to offer its advice.
The state BJP now plans to hold “beneficiary seminars” across UP where it will felicitate people who have gained from various central schemes such as the PM Gramin Awas Yojana, Ujjwala and Saubhagya scheme, with a special focus on spotlighting beneficiaries among the Dalits and backward communities.
“A closer coordination with the RSS at both the district and assembly seat levels will be achieved by sprucing up coordination committees for better preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” said a BJP leader, who was present at the meeting in Agra. This comes amid a perception in some quarters that the RSS did not play an active role in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, which BJP lost.
Although state BJP leaders described the day-long meeting in Agra a “routine” one, it had some high-profile attendees such as the party’s national general secretary (organisation) Shiv Prakash, who is an RSS nominee. The BJP state president, MN Pandey; the party’s chief strategist in the state, Sunil Bansal; and two central ministers, Santosh Gangwar and Krishna Raj, also attended the meeting.
The party leaders are said to have told the RSS camp that they had been aggressively “exposing” the BSP, highlighting, for instance, that the 2007 circular issued by BSP chief Mayawati as CM diluted police powers under SC/ ST Act and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s tough stance on desecration of Ambedkar’s statues in the state. The RSS asked the BJP to take this message to the Dalits and also address the grievances of BJP workers who have to perform this task.
BJP president Amit Shah is expected to be in Lucknow next week on his first visit since the bypoll losses and a review of the losses is expected to be done then, along with discussion on the strategy for the party’s 2019 campaign in UP.