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IS SP, BSP Losing Ground To Chandrashekhar Azad's ASP?

By Fnf correspondent | PUBLISHED: 09, Apr 2024, 20:23 pm IST | UPDATED: 09, Apr 2024, 20:23 pm IST

IS SP, BSP Losing Ground To Chandrashekhar Azad's ASP?

New Delhi: The air in Uttar Pradesh’s Nagina constituency reeks of a potential power shift fueled by discontent with Mayawati's perceived silence on issues affecting the community and her party's absence from grassroots activism. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the SP and BSP had an alliance, BSP leader Girish Chandra won the Nagina seat, defeating the BJP’s Yashwant Singh by a huge margin of 1.6 lakh votes. However, this time, they're turning towards the Aazad Samaj Party (ASP-Kanshiram) as a potential alternative. What Ignited this emotion?

Near the Ravidas Temple and the statue of B R Ambedkar in Nezowadi Gaanwdi village, a gathering awaits the arrival of leaders from the Aazad Samaj Party (ASP-Kanshiram) on Saturday, April 6th. Most of the crowd comprises Jatav Dalit community members, traditionally supporters of BSP leader Mayawati. But this time the purpose is a small meeting in support of party chief and candidate Chandrashkhar Azad, reported The Indian Express. 

A few weeks ago, police reported a tense situation in Silai Baragaon village of Rampur district after a clash resulted in the death of a Dalit teenager and left two others injured. The deceased, Sumesh Kumar (17), was returning home after completing his Class 10 board examination when the incident occurred. The dispute revolved around the installation of a board bearing a photo of BR Ambedkar on a piece of contested land, according to police statements.     

Following the death of a Dalit youth in police gunfire in Rampur, ASP leader Chandrashekhar Azad visited the family. However, Mayawati, her nephew, and her successor, Akash Anand, did not extend their presence. As per Express’ report, their silence has echoed within the Dalit population of the seat. 

Muslims and Dalits together constitute a significant vote bank in the Nagina constituency. Azad's advocacy for their causes resonates with these communities. This is anticipated to potentially disrupt the traditional dominance of parties like the BSP and SP.  

As per the report by Express, Nagina's demographics paint a complex picture: Dalits dominate Nezowadi Gaanwdi village, while Sainis, an OBC group, lean towards the BJP. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw BSP's Girish Chandra clinching victory, but recent Assembly elections show a fragmented landscape.   

The appeal of Azad's Bhim Army extends beyond youth, attracting older voters seeking a new voice for their concerns. As per reports, there is a collective sentiment among voters about the increased need for Dalit representation at the national level.     

According to the report by The Indian Express, attempts at coalition-building between Azad and other parties, notably the SP-Congress, failed over seat allocation. Meanwhile, the BSP, sensing the threat from Azad's rising popularity, has intensified its campaign efforts.    

As the political battlefield heats up, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is rallying support for the BJP, emphasising gestures towards Dalit icons. Azad, on the other hand, is focusing on the local public’s mobilisation and consolidating support among non-Jatav Dalits and Muslims.   

Despite challenges from established parties, Azad's entry as a contender signifies a shifting political dynamic in Nagina. His grassroots activism and appeal to marginalised communities present a formidable challenge to traditional political powerhouses. 

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