Bhim Army chief makes political foray with launch of students’ wing
LUCKNOW: Adding a new chapter to Uttar Pradesh’s Dalit politics, otherwise dominated by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad has launched its students’ wing and will be contesting union polls in four universities.
With BSP footprint missing in student or youth bodies, Azad’s Bhim Army Students Federation (BASF) could probably be UP’s first Dalit students’ body. “BASF will not just prepare SC, ST and backward students to lead society, but instil in them a sense of responsibility towards the country,” said Azad. The organisation will launch its Maharashtra chapter in Pune on August 28 and its Rajasthan unit in September. “More than 10,000 students have joined BASF since its launch on Sunday. Most members are from Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, UP, Punjab and Haryana,” said an Azad aide.
8/20/2019 Bhim Army chief makes political foray with launch of students’ wing BASF is preparing to contest union polls in Benaras Vidyapeeth, Jaipur University, Patna University and Magadh University which are scheduled to be held later this year. The move, aimed at drawing
Dalit youth under one umbrella, comes at a time when BSP, an organisation which Azad claims to support, is struggling to remain politically relevant. Mayawati, who has publicly spurned Azad’s friendship overture, claims he’s a BJP agent. After the Lok Sabha debacle, she has been on an overdrive to draw youth into her party fold.
Recently, she appointed her nephew, Akash Anand, in his mid-20s, as the party’s national coordinator. However, she’s not open tosetting up separate party wings for youth or students, an opportunity that Bhim Army chief Azad wants to capitalize on.
“We do not think Bhim Army will make any difference to us. Azad had said won’t contest, but soon declared his intent to stand up against Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Within days, he made a voteface and he has launched a students’ wing. This is only to create mischief,” said a senior BSP member.
BASF is not the first Dalit students’ organisation in India, but among the few which does have a parent political party. Vivek Kumar, head of sociology in JNU, said Dalit student politics cannot run independently of a political umbrella organisation and all existing bodies have failed to make an impact.
Courtesy : TNN