BJP, BSP share venue in race to woo Dalits

NOIDA: The 127th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr BR Ambedkar threw an interesting spectacle with both the and trying to woo the Dalit fraternity simultaneously at the same venue in Noida on Saturday.
While the BJP’s outreach programme was led by Union minister Mahesh Sharma at gate number 3, from where he announced plans for the development of the Dalit Prerna Sthal as a major tourist spot and a museum based on Dr Ambedkar’s life, senior BSP leaders from the party’s Delhi unit arrived at gate number 5 of the venue which was shared by all outfits for the celebrations.

With the BJP deciding to go ahead with its programme at the memorial on Thursday, the Dalit Utthan Sangharsh Mahasabha (DUSM) which had taken a full-day permission to hold the programme at the memorial was informed by officials of the incharge of the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal that the event needs to be held as directed by the Prime Minister’s Office.

That the BJP is making inroads into the Dalit votebank was substantiated by the fact that two of the DUSM officials have themselves joined the BJP even as the outfit claimed that it would retain its neutral character.

Subsequently, a meeting was held between the minister, DUSM officials at on Thursday where it was decided that the latter would delay its programme by two hours and the BJP would wind up its event by10.30 am.

However, the DUSM — many of whose supporters have been traditional BSP voters — ensured that the BJP removes its symbols and posters soon after the event ends.

“We do not want to get linked to any party. It could have given a bad impression. The BJP respected our schedule and wound up its event on time. You would have seen that all the posters were removed from the spot before the venue was handed over to the DUSM at around 11am,” said a representative for DUSM.

The DUSM officials held the event at the memorial along with the and the Bhim Force.

BSP’s Delhi state president CP Singh and in-charge Mahesh Arya joined the event near Gate No. 5. “The whole country knows what BJP is doing. Ours was a different event. We just wanted to pay our respect to Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue,” Singh said.

“All the arrangement was made on directions of the minister,” said a DUSM official.

During Sharma’s speech, a group of BSP supporters raised slogans of “Jai Bhim”. However, he continued his speech without reacting.

“On one hand,parties say they are pro-Dalit and on the other hand,they are working against the interests of the community,” he said.

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