UPCC googles out Babuji as party's Dalit poster boy
Manjari Mishra, TNN, Apr 7, 2010, 06.01am IST
LUCKNOW: If his newly set up fan club in Andhra Pradesh unit clamours
for a Bharat Ratna for Babu Jagjivan Ram, UP congress also rediscovers
Babuji just a week ahead of the party's high-powered rath yatra. The
month and a half long jamboree is to be flagged off by AICC general
secretary rahul Gandhi in chief minister Mayawati's hometurf Ambedkar
Nagar on April 14.
As the D-day gets closer, the former deputy prime minister has made a
sudden appearance on flex hoardings as a Dalit icon in the company of
Bhim Rao Ambedkar. The BSP, which is busy planning a parallel show
same time same place, finding it too good a opportunity to miss and
has termed the duo's inclusion as an afterthought and a cover up
High drama unfolded in Ambedkar Nagar last week as local BSP cadre
charged Congress party with "deliberate omission of Dalit leaders.
Absence of Dr Ambedkar whose birth anniversary was chosen for the
launch from the publicity material, in fact raised quite a few titters
in Maya camp. An alarmed UPCC woke up to the blunder and rushed a
fresh consignment of publicity material on Monday. And now blame game
A section of Congressmen blame the oversight to over eagerness of
colleagues, others alleged UPCC had nothing to do with controversial
posters. "They were sponsored by our political rivals to embarrass us,
one senior functionary told TOI on Tuesday.
The fresh batch - the officially approved and printed by the UPCC - he
claimed, more than made up for the lapse, though sources confided that
hunting for Jagjivan Ramji's photograph was not an easy task. Already
a forgotten figure - none remembers the last function held to
commemorate his memory - the party archives could yield only one photo
which was anyway was found unfit for reprint. Finally the media team
turned to the internet and downloaded the picture so that Babuji could
make his new-age debut.
"Being a chamar, Ram becomes extremely relevant in current scenario
here. Highlighting him, therefore, was most vital. The rath yatra, its
venue, the date have a clear message, that is to lay our claim to
Dalit vote bank. In view of this, the slip was avoidable," a party
functionary remarked. "How could they forget to include him in the
posters when his 103 birth centenary being celebrated as a week long
festival in Andhra Pradesh," asked another.
This is the second roadblock the much-hyped yatra has hit much before
its launch. First it was the venue controversy, as district
administration cancelled the ground demanded by Congress leaders. Even
as the party cried foul -- Joshi alleged the potholed ground allotted
to Congress was a deliberate act -- district authorities explained
that BSP made the first claim and therefore had the first choice.
Even though Congress has taken remedial measure the BSP camp is in no
mood to let go of the issue. Their fresh target is the size. Pictures
of BR Ambedkar, Gandhi, Patel, Shastri are all in postal stamp size
and are eclipsed by the present crop of Delhi leaders, they complain.
But the objection is overruled this time . "You can't please everyone
all the time," says RP Tripathi, the brain behind the design and
execution of publicity material. Not in Ambedkarnagar at least.
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