Though Rajasthan is known for ‘ship of the desert’, but Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s elephant has been trying hard since 1993 to make inroads in the desert state. The Congress leadership in Delhi is contemplating to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the BSP, but grand old party’s state unit has ruled out any such alliance with the BSP.
Dalits account for more than 17 percent of the votes in Rajasthan, which is considered crucial in forming next government in the state. The BSP has already assigned a task to its leaders to galvanise party’s rank and file in Rajasthan. There are 34 seats reserved for the Scheduled Caste, barring two, the ruling BJP captured all the seats. Former Congress minister and Dalit leader Babulal Nagar said, “There is no need to form an alliance with the BSP. Of course, we understand that the need of the hour is to defeat the BJP. But the party should not go with a formal alliance.”He said, “We lost all such reserve seats in last Assembly elections.”
It is also time for Congress to value its Dalit leaders and involve them in party affairs greatly, he added.
The former minister said Rajasthan is different from neighbouring states, like Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh. Traditionally, the Dalits have always supported Congress in Rajasthan, he said. PL Mimroth, director of Centre for Dalit Rights, echoed the same view while cautioning the Congress.
“More or less, Scheduled Caste communities support the Congress in Rajasthan but now new groups are emerging in the communities and have a different perspective over Dalit issues,” said Mimroth. Mimroth, a leading voice on Dalit issues, said it was painful when the Congress maintained a silence over some incidents of atrocities against Scheduled Castes. He said, a mob vandalised the house of former minister Bharosi Lal Jatav in Karaui during a Bharat Bandh by Dalit groups and the party leaders did not pay any attention to the incident.