Eyes on 2017 Assembly polls, SP tries to woo Dalits

Sensing an opportunity in the dismal showing by BSP in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party is silently working towards weaning away its arch-rival’s Dalit vote bank with an eye on the 2017 Assembly polls.
Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP has given a fresh momentum to its Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribes Cell with the appointment of party MLA Subhash Pasi as its president.
Pasi has started the process of reconstituting the district and Assembly constituency level committees.
“Though BSP president Mayawati claims to have worked for the welfare of Dalits, barring her own caste the other 17 castes which comprise the scheduled castes have remained by and large neglected all these years and someone will have to think about them,” Pasi said. “Despite her claims, a large number of Dalits feel ignored and neglected because of her unavailability to her supporters and her close confidants creating a wall stalling all kind of interaction with the leadership,” he said, adding that his party on the other hand believes that supporters and workers should have an easy access to the leadership.
“I have facilitated meetings of Dalit leaders and delegations with the Chief Minister and will do the same in future also and these meetings are helping restore the faith of these castes with the Samajwadi Party,” Pasi said. Confidence would be built among the Dalits that their interests and rights will be protected in the party, he said.
“The Chief Minister (Akhilesh Yadav), who is also the State unit president, has given me a free hand and also an assurance of all help in the task of bringing the Dalits closer to the party through interactions with the different cells of the party including the youth wings,” Pasi said.
To address one of the worst fears of the Dalits towards the police, Pasi said he would personally visit homes of Dalits, get food cooked there and then invite the local police personnel to share a meal. (PTI)
“This will help them adopt a more humane approach towards the community. Moreover, it will help my Dalit brothers shed the fear of Khaki,” he said.
“After the various committees of the SC-ST Cell are constituted, a convention of these office-bearers as well as leaders of all the castes among the Dalits would be organised in Lucknow by February last week,” he said, adding that party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Chief Minister, and other senior ministers and leaders would be invited to the event.
On his part, Pasi has already started working among the Dalits in different parts of the state organising sports meet, distributing cricket kits among the deserving sportsmen.
Pasi, who is the MLA from Saidpur Assembly constituency of Gazipur, had adopted five villages having Dalit majority for model development.
“Works like solar lights for all the Dalit bastis, distribution of bulbs and other welfare works would be initiated in these villages,” he said.
The SP leader, who also heads NGO Akshar Foundation which works in collaboration with the Nargis Dutt Foundation in Mumbai, will launch ambulances for Dalit-dominated areas.
Pasi’s wife, Reena, too has been working among Dalit women helping in their needs pertaining to health and hygiene besides providing medicines, clothes and even utensils wherever needed because, he said, “the poorest of the poor among Dalits do not even have these basic amenities”. (PTI)


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