Lucknow, Oct 4 (IANS): The Congress in Uttar Pradesh proposes to launch ‘Dalit Gaurav Samvad’ on October 9—the death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
The party’s dialogue with Dalits is proposed to end on November 26—the Constitution Day.
This is a first-of-its-kind move that the party is making to win back Dalits and most backward classes (MBCs) and thereby make a dent in the support base of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in UP.
In the past, the Congress always tried to claim the legacy of Dalit icon Dr B.R. Ambedkar while wooing the backward classes.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Ajay Rai confirmed that the party proposes to launch a dialogue with the Dalits on the death anniversary of the BSP ideologue.
He said this was the party’s attempt to bring the Dalits into the party fold.
The Congress’s decision to launch the Dalit Gaurav Samvad programme on Kanshi Ram’s death anniversary assumes significance as the BSP founder had a strong connection not only with Dalits but also with the extremely backward among the other backward classes.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had coined a new slogan ‘Jitni abadi utna haq’ (greater population, greater rights) while campaigning for his party in the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly elections.
Incidentally, the BSP founder had used a nearly similar slogan 'Jiski jitni sankhya bhari, utni uski hissedari' (the greater the number, the greater the share) to woo the backwards, Dalits and the minorities.
UPCC organisation secretary Anil Yadav said, "At the proposed Dalit Gaurav Samvad programmes, we will connect with 1 lakh influential Dalits (250 in every assembly constituency), across Uttar Pradesh. A state level Dalit leadership meeting, night chaupals in Dalit areas in every Assembly constituency besides discussions on Dalit agenda in every Lok Sabha constituency have also been proposed."
"Divisional level 'Dalit Gaurav Yatras' will also be organised and press conferences will be held in all district headquarters during the period," Yadav further said.
He added that a formal announcement about the meeting will be made soon. The UPCC has been holding the conventions of the backward classes in various divisions and districts in the past few months.
It also proposes to hold a larger state convention in Lucknow soon. "Only 7 per cent of the secretaries in the Government of India are Dalit, tribal or OBC. Is the population of these classes just 7 per cent in India? If we must give participation to everyone in the country, we will have to find out how much population belongs to which caste. Why is the PM not making the caste census data public," asked Rahul Gandhi in a post on X (formerly twitter) in Hindi on April 24 earlier this year.
"The Congress has been in favour of aligning with the BSP. This will put pressure on the BSP which has so far not decided about aligning with any party. BSP chief Mayawati has considerable influence on Dalits. This is also an attempt of the Congress to woo Dalits ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections," said a senior party strategist.