Kay Benedict New Delhi, January 16, 2012 | UPDATED 12:00 IST
Uttar Pradesh assembly elections: From Muslims, Rahul Gandhi turns
focus on 'ignored' Dalits
A Dalit Congress leader from UP has requested Rahul to hold a rally of
non-Jatav Dalits in Lucknow.
After offering quota in jobs and education to the Muslim community,
AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi is turning his attention to other
segments especially the Dalits, the Jats and the extremely backward
This is part of his social engineering to win the maximum number of
seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.
Rahul held a review meeting of the party strategy with senior leaders
on Saturday and the focus was on the 89 constituencies where the party
has fielded Dalit candidates. This includes the 85 reserved seats and
four general constituencies where Dalit nominees are in the fray.
The Election Commission order to cover all the statues of UP chief
minister Mayawati and her party symbol "elephant" and whether the move
would benefit Mayawati were also discussed at the meeting.
The state has 22 per cent Dalits of which the majority are Jatavs -
the community BSP chief Mayawati belongs to. The Congress appears to
be adopting a two- pronged strategy of making every effort to wean
non- Jatavs away from the BSP and trying to split the Jatavs so that
the BSP strike rate is reduced.
Known Dalit faces such as P. L. Puniya, bureaucrat-turned-Lok Sabha MP
from Barabanki and chairperson of the National Commission for SC, once
Mayawati's close advisor, and Ashok Tanwar, former president of the
Youth Congress and the NSUI, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from
Sirsa constituency in Haryana, have been assigned the 89
The Congress has decided to appoint observers - either MLA,
ex-minister or ex-MLA - with election experience in all these 89
Sources said a senior Dalit Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh has
requested Rahul to hold a rally of non-Jatav Dalits in Lucknow. They
alleged that non-Jatav Dalits have been ignored by Mayawati who has
been promoting her community alone.
The party manifesto being prepared is expected to offer sops to
Dalits, EBCs, Jats and Muslims. It also plans to promise
sub-categorisation of SCs in the state, a move primarily aimed at
containing the Jatavs who have benefited most from reservation. It
would seek to end the monopoly of the Jatavs much to the glee of other
The Congress on Sunday betrayed its anxiety that the BSP may end up
benefiting from the Election Commission (EC) order to cover the
statues of Mayawati and her party symbol 'elephant' for an entirely
"People in UP are so upset with this government that seeing these
statues in public could make them vote against her government," AICC
spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.
"Covering them could actually dilute that simmering anger and she may
be saved from the people's strong disapproval," he added.
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