Lok Sabha polls 2024: Akhilesh to unveil Kanshi Ram statue with an eye on Dalit voters
Akhilesh, going by the advice of his party MLC Swami Prasad Maurya and other Dalit leaders, will also address a public rally to mark the occasion on April 3.
LUCKNOW: In a bid to woo Dalit voters ahead of the 2024 general elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav will unveil the statue of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder president late Kanshi Ram in Rae Bareli on April 3.
The SP has started working on the strategy, which has been laid out for accomplishing Mission 2024 by going beyond its core Muslim-Yadav (M-Y) combination and making inroads into the BSP’s traditional Dalit vote bank.
Akhilesh, going by the advice of his party MLC Swami Prasad Maurya and other Dalit leaders, will also address a public rally to mark the occasion.
Akhilesh has been accusing BSP chief Mayawati of working as BJP’s B team by fielding its candidates as decided by the ruling party.
Significantly, in the 2022 Assembly polls, Samajwadi Party, which managed to take its tally from 47 to 111 with 32.06% votes, had received the support of just 31 per cent of Dalits including 10 per cent of Jatavs. On the other hand, BSP, which could win just one assembly seat, received 75 per cent of the Dalit votes, including 47 per cent of Jatavs. However, the overall vote percentage of the BSP declined by 9.35 percent and came down to 12.88 per cent from 22.23 per cent in 2017.
However, while the silver lining for the BSP was the consolidation of SCs in its favour, SP got the overwhelming support of Muslims (76%) and Yadavs (73%) like never before in 2022.
SP and BSP have tied up twice in Uttar Pradesh. Their first alliance had come through in 1993 when SP founder president Mulayam Sigh Yadav and BSP founder president Kanshi Ram came together to stop BJP from returning to power after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, following which Kalyan Singh's government was dislodged.
While the BJP was confident of returning to power riding on the back of the emotional temple wave, the SP-BSP alliance foiled BJP's dreams of coming to power. Mulayam continued as CM for the second time in 1993 with the help of Kanshi Ram but could not complete the term due to the withdrawal of Support by the BSP following the infamous ‘Guest House’ episode, wherein, the then BSP general secretary Mayawati was manhandled by the SP workers in UP State Guest House in June 1995.
The second time, the two regional satraps joined hands again to stop the saffron juggernaut in 2019 but the caste arithmetic failed to work in favour of the grand alliance and the BJP won 62 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats on its own. While BSP won 10, SP was relegated to just five seats losing even its bastions like Badaun, Firozabad and Kannauj.
Just after the 2019 general elections, SP and BSP parted ways blaming each other for the failure of the grand alliance.
As per the political experts, both the SP and BSP are eyeing each other’s vote banks. while BSP is focusing on its traditional core base comprising a Muslim-Dalit combination while looking to woo SP's Muslim vote bank, SP is trying to make forays into the Dalit constituency of BSP.
The April 3 programme of Akhilesh Yadav is being witnessed as an attempt in that direction. Of late, Akhilesh Yadav had been harping on the ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr BR Ambedkar. "Now the SP chief is expanding his reach of narrative by making Kanshi Ram a part of it," says JP Shukla, a prominent political commentator.
He adds that the new narrative of the Samajwadi Party has been set by the BSP turncoats like Swami Prasad Maurya, Ram Achal Rajbhar, Lalji Verma, Indrajit Saroj and RK Chaudhury.