UP polls: Dalit fails to create ‘icon’ for community

Chandrashekhar Azad, the Dalit leader and founder of Bhim Army, just could not make any mark in the assembly polls in UP.

UP polls: Dalit fails to create ‘icon’ for community

Firoz Rozindar 

Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest States in the country, is also the largest populated state of India where over 20 crore people live, is also the State where over 20% Dalits reside. Dalit voters could not find leaders for them in the 2022 Assembly polls. 

Considering the sizable population of Dalits who are treated as game changers in any election in Uttar Pradesh, all the major and smaller parties of the State have been making constant efforts to win their votes by trying to prove that they are the biggest well-wishers of the downtrodden community.

After Kanshi Ram who emerged the messiah of the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh who founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984, it was Mayawati who became his heir and expanded BSP. She too emerged as the next Dalit icon in UP and in India.

But the assembly election held in UP this year has failed to bring out any face as Dalit leader even among lakhs of Dalits of the States.

While Mayawati has failed to clinch the votes of Dalit and her party experienced a miserable defeat in the elections, one person who was expecting to fill this gap too has failed to make even an iota of impact on Dalits.

Chandrashekhar Azad, the Dalit leader and founder of Bhim Army, just could not make any mark in the assembly polls in UP.

Considered as a highly influential leader of Dalits and one of the strongest critics of BJP, Azad has his own fan following which runs into crores.

An advocate by profession, Azad has been jailed by the BJP government on several occasions for holding rallies against the BJP.

Listed as one of the 100 influential leaders in 2021 by Time Magazine, Azad had been working hard to build his party in Uttar Pradesh.

But his efforts seem to have not attracted Dalits as the election in UP could not recognize him as a face of Dalit leader as he could make a significant impact in electoral politics.

Before the announcement of elections in UP, it was reported that Azad may enter an alliance with SP for polls. But the talks held between Akhilesh and Azad failed to break the ice and Azad came out angry from the meeting.

It was reported that Azad wanted more seats for his party in the polls, but Akhilesh was not in mood to concede his demand as he offered just two seats.

After failing to forge an alliance with SP, Azad decided to go alone in the polls. However, his decision to fight a lone battle did not yield any result in the polls as the people of his own Dalit community did not seemed to be impressed with him.

One of the newspapers had even carried an article that there is no buzz for Azad’s party in his home village Ghadkoli in the Saharanpur district.

Now, as the results have come and BJP is forming the government with a comfortable majority, it will be a matter of discussion as to why the election failed to help in making a Dalit leader in State that has a decisive Dalit population.