Continuing its efforts to win over Dalits for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022, the Samajwadi Party has now decided to constitute a Baba Saheb Vahini named after Dalit icon Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav had earlier announced that his party would celebrate 'Dalit Diwali' on the Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14.
Dalit organisations supported by the BJP and the Congress had raised objections to this.
Responding to the objections to celebrate Ambedkar's birth anniversary as 'Dalit Diwali', Yadav said there could be reservations over the name but there could not be any dispute over celebrating Ambedkar and his birth anniversary.
"One may call it 'Samvidhan Raksha Diwas' or 'Ambedkar Diwali' but no one can question the desire to celebrate Ambedkar and his birth anniversary," he said.
"To further the idea of equality and justice to all sections of the society that was mooted by Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Samajwadi Party pledges to float a separate frontal organisation by the name of Baba Saheb Vahini at the district, state and national level on his birth anniversary on April 14," Akhilesh said.
The Baba Saheb Vahini is aimed at bringing Dalits into the Samajwadi fold and assuring them protection against social exploitation.
Socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia and Ambedkar had planned to work together for the upliftment of the society and the fact is a part of our history, he added.
The Samajwadi Party's decision to go big in celebrating Ambedkar and his ideology is being seen as a direct jolt to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that prides itself as the sole custodian of the Ambedkar philosophy.
The Samajwadi Party and BSP were allies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the two parties had vowed to work together for the weaker and downtrodden sections of society.
However, immediately after the Lok Sabha elections, BSP president Mayawati snapped ties with SP and announced that her party would never ally with SP again.
Though SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav never levelled any charges against the BSP, he has been quietly working on a strategy to deplete the BSP's base.
Last year, during the Rajya Sabha elections, Akhilesh managed to wean away nine BSP MLAs which was a major jolt to Mayawati.
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