Ahead of state polls, BJP plans Dalit outreach programmes

The Delhi BJP will start an outreach programme in assembly constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Castes to garner the support of the community in the state elections scheduled early next year.

After it secured maximum number of votes in all the SC constituencies in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is hoping for a similar response in the assembly polls too.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said that from June 26, he would spend nights in slum clusters in each SC assembly segments to interact with people and know their concerns. “We want to reach out to the community and tell them about our plans. We got an overwhelming support from the community in the recent assembly elections. We aim to getting a similar response in the assembly elections,” Tiwari said.

Of the 12 SC seats in Delhi, the BJP has never won more than 2-3 since 1998. In 1993, a senior BJP leader from the community said, the party won in eight segments.

“In 1998, we didn’t win any SC seat and in 2003 and 2008, we had only two MLAs. In 2013, BJP had only one MLA from a reserved seat (Trilokpuri). In the recent Lok Sabha elections, we got maximum votes in each of the 12 segments,” the BJP leader said.

Tiwari said the party needed to work hard to make inroads in the community, which always supported the Congress and later turned to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). “We want their support as our government at the Centre has done a lot of work for them. We will hold similar programmes in Muslim-dominated constituencies,” said Tiwari.

The party will begin its membership drive from July 6 with special focus on slum clusters, especially in Dalit areas. “We will focus on areas where we don’t have a strong support base, such as slum clusters. Though our initial target is 4.5 lakh, we are aiming at adding 10 lakh new members,” said Kuljeet Chahal, general secretary of the Delhi BJP , who is in charge of the party’s membership drive.

The BJP, which has for long been known as a party of baniyas and Punjabis as the state unit was headed by people from these two communities, shifted its focus to Poorvanchalis, which played a big role in AAP’s victory in 2015 assembly polls. But support from the Dalit community, the BJP leader said, had been missing.

First Published:
Jun 20, 2019 03:05 IST

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