Noida: Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad launched his political party, the Azad Samaj Party, on Sunday, the birth anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
Aazad made the announcement in Basai village of Sector-70 in Noida. As expected, the Bhim Army chief chose the colour blue for the party flag.
A large number of Bhim Army supporters and workers were present during the announcement. As many as 28 ex-MLAs and six former MPs also attended the event, reports said.
The date of the party’s launch is seen as a direct challenge to BSP chief Mayawati whose party has so far been the sole beneficiary of the Dalit votes.
Aazad had said that following the party’s launch, the Bhim Army, which has been supporting the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register for Citizens (NRC), will work as a social and cultural extension of the political party.
Interestingly, to counter the Bhim Army's plan to enter the political arena and erode the political base of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mayawati has convened a meeting of party leaders and office bearers in the first week of April.
There are also reports that Aazad has been in touch with some BSP leaders and plans to wean them over. During his Lucknow visit on March 2, the Bhim Army chief had indicated that he would join the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha, a united front launched by five small political parties in Uttar Pradesh for the next UP assembly elections in 2022.
In a veiled attack on Azad, Mayawati on Sunday said people with vested interests are playing into the hands of rival political parties and claimed they have nothing to do with BR Ambedkar and his movement.
"Even now, people with vested interests are playing into the hands of rival political parties. They have nothing to do with Babasaheb Ambedkar and his movement. Nor they have anything to do with Manyavar Kanshi Ram's sacrifice and austerity," Mayawati said, without naming the Bhim Army chief.
"The truth is that these people are only using their (Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram) names to realise their vested interests," she said in a statement issued by the BSP central office in New Delhi.
Sharpening her attack, Mayawati said, "Kanshi Ram had written a book 'Chamcha Yug' to alert the innocent Dalits, tribals, people from backwards castes and from other oppressed section from selfish and 'bikaau' (saleable) people like these."
Mayawati also said, "Formation of new parties or organisations will not benefit these people, but it will lead to success the policy of divide and rule of the casteist parties and people opposing these sections, thereby making these people helpless, and then they will never be able to stand on their feet."
The BSP chief urged all the followers of Kanshi Ram to work hard to fulfil the dreams of Ambedkar, the statement said, adding the birth anniversary of the party founder was celebrated in a simple manner.