Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why Kanshi Ram's death is important for BJP

Why Kanshi Ram's death is important for BJP?

BJP leader demands CBI enquiry into Kanshi Ram's death

Kanshi Ram, the founder of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had died in 2006 after ailing for more than two years and finally perishing due to a heart stroke. Mayawati was Kanshi Ram's understudy, and had offered her everything to him in his journey to create a party for Dalits. In the later years Mayawati's clout had increased and when Kanshi Ram was ailing, Mayawati was accused by Kanshi Ram's family that she tightly controlled who can meet him. Now BJP wants a CBI enquiry to look into Kanshi Ram's death.

With the Samajwadi Party imploding due to civil war within the first family, there is not much hope for that party in the 2017 UP assembly polls. So now BJP wants to believe that its principal opponent is the Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Dalit's are generally consolidated under the BSP. During the 2014 UP elections, a part of the Dalit community and other castes had deserted Mayawati. However, with the lynching of Dalits in Gujarat and other parts of the country over cow vigilantism, the dalits have again moved towards BSP. With roughly 24% of the UP voters comprising of castes which are categorised as Dalits, it can give the BSP a major tailwind.

So BJP wants to derail this and since there is no other issue, it has fallen back to a 10 year old death of the BSP's founder, Kanshi Ram. BJP wants to test the impact of this accusation, so K. P. Maurya, BJP's UP State President has said that Kanshi Ram's family wants the issue to be investigated. If this issue gains traction, then other BJP leaders, namely Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi will raise it.

If the Kanshi Ram card is played well, then there can be some doubts raised about the role of Mayawati in Kanshi Ram's death and some dalit's may not vote for BSP. However, the cow vigilantism causing untold agony on dalits' is a much more recent issue and dalits will not back BJP. Instead, there is likely hood of the dalits moving on to Congress which will upset the calculations of BJP.

It will be very important how the next steps of Congress plays out in UP. If Priyanka Gandhi indeed campaigns in a major manner and holds continuous roadshows/street side meetings/rallys in many constituencies, then it will help congress a lot. The messaging that Rahul Gandhi achieved in UP during his Kisan Yatra will be reinforced by Priyanka Gandhi's Yatra and people will genuinely start believing that Congress is now a force in UP. In that situation, the dalits can definitely start moving to Congress.

The fact that Congress is collecting Kisan Mang Patras, which is a form to collect the loan status of farmers and the farming community also has dalits as well as upper castes, it will become easier for dalit's to move into Congress in the hope of getting their farm loans waived.

Nevertheless, there will be many claims and counter claims between BJP and BSP on the Kanshi Ram issue and Mayawati will try her best to keep her flock together. The coming weeks and months will tell us who wins this strategic and tactical battles.

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