Before UP election, SP courts dalit groups

By Faisal Fareed,,

Lucknow: Taking the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) off guard, the main opposition party in the state, Samajwadi Party (SP) is making efforts to make inroads in the dalit vote bank of blue brigade. Fire brand leader Azam Khan has been entrusted with the task to bargain and strike a deal with several dalit organizations.

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SP leaders are in contact with BAMCEF leaders who supported the BSP and were the backbone of the BSP movement during its initial stages. Several other dalit organisations as Vishwa Shudra Mahasabha (VSM), Akhil Bhartiya Chamar Mahasangh (ABCM) too are in touch with the party. A meeting to discuss the finer details of the deal has been scheduled with Mulayam’s trusted lieutenant Azam Khan. It is likely that Khan will be meeting them at his residence in Lucknow on Monday evening.

Confirming the reports about the meeting, President, ABCM, Harinam Singh stated that they are going ahead with the meeting Azam Khan. “With me it will be also Dr Talivar Rahi of BAMCEF and Jagdish Patel of VSM. We will be discussing the things which are on our agenda with Azam Khan,” he said.

Harinam did not rule out the possibility of supporting SP in coming assembly elections. “It is too early but we can say that things are moving in the same direction. Dalits are now disenchanted with the BSP due to the cold shoulder response and dictatorial attitude of the CM Mayawati,” he added.

State President, BAMCEF, Dr Talivar Singh Rahi also confirmed that a meeting with Azam Khan is scheduled on Monday. He however denied that politics is on the agenda during meeting. “I have been informed that Azam Khan wants to get details of Bahujan Lokpal Bill and we are meeting for the same. I have no other plans,” said Dr Rahi.

Rahi however, candidly admitted that BSP has deviated from the original social agenda of the BAMCEF. “However, it does not imply that we are deserting the BSP. For us all parties as SP, BSP and other dalit parties are alike. Anyone who comes close to our social agenda is bound to get our sympathy,” said Dr Rahi.

The dalit groups also have planned a joint meeting of their office bearers and important leaders on September 17 to convey the outcome of their deliberations with the SP leaders. “A final decision will be taken after our cadre accepts the decision” said Harinam Singh.