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Shift in Dalit politics: BSP sinks, Bhim Army leader rises in UP

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Shift in Dalit politics: BSP sinks, Bhim Army leader rises in UP

Lucknow, June 4 (IANS) The Bahujan Samaj Party has sunk and a new Dalit leader has risen in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

This is the biggest takeaway of these elections from the state.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has failed to win even a single seat in Uttar Pradesh while Chandrashekhar of Aazad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) and founder of Bhim Party was leading massively in the Nagina seat without any support from any political party or leader.

His victory with a margin of over one lakh votes in Nagina, a reserved seat, signifies a clear shift in Dalit votes. The BSP had also fielded its candidate in Nagina and Akash Anand, when he campaigned there, targeted Chandrashekhar and warned his voters to beware of ‘woh aadmi’.

Chandrashekhar fought a lonely battle but he was confident of his victory. “All parties have positioned themselves against me but the people are with me and I am confident of their support,” he said two days ago.

“I do not need any star campaigners because my stars are my voters. They know I will always be there for them and that is what matters in the end,” he had said.

Though Chandrashekhar carefully avoided any criticism of Mayawati, he ensured that the voters realised the difference between the two.

A Bhim Army supporter explained, “Chandrashekhar has always made sure to visit every Dalit home where any member has been targeted — whether it is in Hathras, Kanpur Dehat, Lakhimpur or any other place. His team runs schools for Dalit children in various cities in western UP and he even extends legal help to affected families. Mayawati has never bothered to reach out to families who suffer. People, especially youth, in our community are slowly gravitating towards the Bhim Army, also known as the Azad Samaj Party.”

Buoyed up by its leader’s victory in Nagina, the Bhim Army now plans to build up its organisation across the state.

“Yes, we are planning to strengthen the party organisation and prepare for the Assembly elections,” said a Bhim Party leader.

As per the Election Commission data, Chandrashekhar was leading with a margin of 1,45,053 over his nearest rival, BJP’s Om Kumar.

Chandrashekhar polled 4,91,045 votes while the BSP’s Surendra Pal Singh secured 12,864 votes so far.


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