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How Ramdev, Mulayam are helping BSP

AM Jigeesh Lalganj | Updated on November 24, 2017

Statements anger Dalits and women; Mayawati is quick to tap the opportunity

The recent statements by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and yoga guru and BJP supporter Ramdev have given the much needed impetus to the Bahujan Samaj Party’s election campaign. The party of Dalits is using the statements to run down both the SP and the BJP in the State.

Ramdev had recently remarked that Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi goes to Dalit houses for picnics and honeymoons. Mulayam had courted controversy by defending rapists, saying ‘death penalty should not be given for such mistakes of boys’. The BSP is widely using these statements to consolidate its votes among the Dalits and to reach out to the women in other communities.

Party supremo Mayawati demanded the arrest of Ramdev over the anti-Dalit remarks. She urged the Election Commission to register case against him using the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ ST Act.

“I want to tell the EC and the Uttar Pradesh Government through the media that an FIR should be launched soon against the BJP’s aide Ramdev for his derogatory remarks against Dalits. The EC should ensure that Ramdev is arrested for his statements,” Mayawati said. Her followers, however, have taken the issue to the voters. A number of BSP activists with whom Business Line spoke said Ramdev’s and Mulayam’s assertions have made the public angry.

“Their comments have helped us to strengthen our campaign. The public is angry. Women voters have seen these comments with utmost contempt. We were able to convince them that this is how the supporters of Modi and Mulayam Singh Yadav are behaving,” said Kalkati Prasad, a BSP activist from Lalganj. His colleague Kasim said women, cutting across caste barriers, will vote for Mayawati as only the BSP can ensure respect for women.

“Law and order was far better under the Mayawati Government. The SP and the BJP are two parties that support lawlessness. The anti-women mentality of these leaders was visible from such irresponsible statements,” he added.

Vote shift

The Ramdev statement is proving costly for the BJP. Its own allies Republican Party of India and the Lok Janshakti Party had expressed their displeasure at the statement.

The BJP, with the help of the Sangh Parivar, has been trying to win Dalit votes in this election.

There were reports that Hindutva outfits have been distributing pamphlets in various regions of the State, saying BR Ambedkar was opposed to Islam. A possible shift in the Dalit votes was blocked completely after Ramdev’s statement.

The BSP has found a chance and is making all efforts to consolidate its base among various Dalit communities based on the issue.

“This is not just an issue of Dalits. It’s an issue of women’s dignity,” Prasad said.

BSP’s campaign has picked up momentum after widespread condemnation of both the statements.

“Voters have changed. They are hooked to the media and the internet. No one wants a leader who supports anti-social tendencies,” Kasim said.

The Congress has also been using the issue against the BJP and the SP along with the allegation that Narendra Modi wanted to tap the telephone conversations of a woman and sent the State Police to shadow her. The party had used this issue to counter the Opposition’s charge that women were not safe under the Congress regime.

In one of his rallies in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi had said that the Congress respects women. “We respect women. We will not put police behind you, nor will we tap into your phone calls,” he said.

Published on April 30, 2014

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