UP BJP To Woo Dalits By Developing 'Panchteerth' Of Ambedkar Sites

(MENAFN- IANS) Lucknow, Oct 1 (IANS) To increase its Dalit outreach ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh is mulling a proposal of taking members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) communities on 'Panchteerth'.

'Panchteerth' is a religious tour of the five important places associated with the life of B.R. Ambedkar.

"We are working out modalities in this regard and are awaiting the nod from the party leadership. This will be our gift to Dalits," said a senior BJP functionary on condition of anonymity.

The five 'Panchteerth' destinations include Ambedkar's birthplace at Mhow (in Madhya Pradesh), the three-storeyed house in London where he stayed while studying at the London School of Economics, Deeksha-bhoomi in Nagpur, where Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, 26 Alipur Road in New Delhi, where he died, and the site in Mumbai where Ambedkar was cremated.

Barring London, the BJP plans to include as many as destinations possible in the itinerary.

The BJP leadership is said to have tasked its SC Morcha to draw a blueprint for the execution of the ambitious idea that could potentially help the saffron outfit bolster its outreach among Dalits, who account for around 21 per cent of the total electorate in the country.

"The Dalit community certainly considers Ambedkar its icon, its God. And there is little doubt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fulfilling the aspirations of Dalits in all possible ways. As far as the Panchteerth are concerned, they undoubtedly symbolise Dalit emancipation in the most profound manner," said Uttar Pradesh BJP SC Morcha Chief Ram Chandra Kannaujia.

The idea, if implemented, could have a far-reaching impact, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where Dalits play the most crucial role in deciding the electoral fortunes of political parties.

The BJP has especially been looking for all possible ways to consolidate the Jatav sub-castes among Dalits, the core vote-bank of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati.

In fact, two Jatav leaders, former IPS officer Aseem Arun and former Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya, are playing a key role in winning over Dalit votes.

The proposal has already given a jolt to BSP and a senior BSP leader termed the BJP's plans as "mere eyewash to divert people's attention from the atrocities committed against Dalits".

"The incident in which a person associated with the BJP urinated on a mentally challenged tribal in Madhya Pradesh is enough to show the mentality of the ruling party. People are seeing and understanding all such acts of the BJP people," a BSP leader said.

He also added that the Samajwadi Party which now claimed to be a sympathiser of Dalits, had reversed the BSP government's decision to name Kasganj as Kanshi Ram Nagar, when Akhilesh Yadav came to power.





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