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As Rumours of Bhim Army Chief’s Poll Aspirations Grow, Dalit Group Makes Sole Agenda Clear

As political battle gains pace in buildup to 2019, Bhim Army is busy mobilising popular support for Chandrashekhar's case. Prominent human rights organisation Amnesty International India has also come forward in support of the jailed leader.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:June 7, 2018, 9:33 PM IST
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As Rumours of Bhim Army Chief’s Poll Aspirations Grow, Dalit Group Makes Sole Agenda Clear
Representational image of Bhim Army.
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Lucknow: Just days after playing a vital role in BJP's defeat in Kairana Lok Sabha bypolls, dalit outfit Bhim Army said that defeating BJP and RSS in 2019 general election will be its top agenda.

The organisation has seen swift advancement across Western UP but it has faced a stormy year since Saharanpur caste violence in 2017 and subsequent arrest of its founder Chandrashekar Azad 'Ravan'. Many of its activists including Ravan are still behind bars.

Despite these challenges, Bhim Army is being credited with playing a major role in mobilising dalits against BJP in Kairana.

Bhim Army's national president and Chandrashekhar's close associate, Vinay Ratan Singh, who was recently released from jail, told News18, ''Our organisation played a silent but very crucial role in Kairana. Our members fanned out across villages, mobilising voters against the BJP. Though we had nothing personal against Mriganika Singh, the party she stood for has spearheaded caste discrimination and atrocities.”

When asked what the organisation’s agenda was for 2019, Vinay Singh said, “For coming General election our motto is clear and that is to defeat BJP/RSS.”

Sources said there is also a strong possibility of Chandrashekar himself entering the electoral fray. However, this idea is being denied by the organisation’s leaders.

Vinay Ratan claimed that there was absolutely no chance that Ravan wouldcontest elections. “We will only work to ensure BJP’s defeat,” he said.

But this gives rise to the question - will Bhim Army be close to any specific political party?

Given the history of its varying political approach to Bahujan Samaj Party and its chief Mayawati, it is unlikely that the two can come on the same platform. Sources say that Bhim Army's top leaders including the jailed Chandrashekar had been in touch with top-most leaders of the Congress through a local party heavyweight, who had played a big role behind the opposition's victory in Kairana.

Meanwhile, as political battle gains pace in buildup to 2019, Bhim Army is busy mobilising popular support for Chandrashekhar's case. Prominent human rights organisation Amnesty International India has also come forward in support of the jailed leader.

Talking to News18, Amnesty's program director Asmita Basu said, “Laws are being misused by the Yogi Adityanath government to keep Chandrashekar behind the bars. Invoking NSA against him is unjustified and that he should be released at the earliest.”
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
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