The main Opposition BJP, which was successful in usurping Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s legacy from the Congress, is now looking to exploit the mass appeal of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Congress stalwart Babu Jagjivan Ram.
And the move to milk the legacy of the two late titans for all its political worth is part of the BJP strategy to make inroads into Scheduled Caste classes in the run-up to the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP top brass has realised that if the party were to win the maximum number of seats in UP, it will have to devise a different strategy to woo the SCs, who constitute nearly 20 per cent of the electorate. However, the fact that the Dalits had committed themselves to the Mayawati-led BSP for over a decade was not lost on the BJP leadership.
Even though a pro-BJP wave in the wake of the Babrji Masjid -Ram Janambhoomi movement had helped the party win 12 out of the 18 Reserved Seats in UP in the 1998 LS polls, over a period of time the Dalits had migrated to the BSP ranks and had consolidated into the pro-Dalit party’s main vote bank. And the erosion of the Dalit votes was all too evident in the last elections when the BJP ended up with just two Reserved Seats.
The BJP leadership is firmly convinced that the Dalit vote-BSP link must be broken, in order, to help the party realise its dream of returning to power after decade-long political hibernation.
As part of this, the BJP will be celebrating the birth anniversaries of the Dalit leaders, saints and social reformers allover the state. And it had celebrated ‘Valmiki Jayanti’, with the party now set to ring in the Ravidas Jayanti and Sant Gadke Jayanti on February 14 and 23 respectively.
Interestingly the Anusuchit Morcha, which is the SC wing of the party, is pretty much convinced that the BJP must celebrate Kanshi’s birth anniversary on March 15.