A fortnight after BSP chief Mayawati gave a call for Dalit-Muslim unity to defeat the BJP, her party has appointed only Muslims as vice-presidents in most of the districts in the riot-hit region of western Uttar Pradesh.
The party’s district unit has only one post of vice-president. The post of the district president is held by a Scheduled Caste leader while most of the V-Ps in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Baghpat, Saharanpur, Sambhal, Amroha, Rampur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Hapur are now Muslims. Sources said the emergence of Muslims in the party organisation in so many districts simultaneously is unprecedented. as the BSP had always given token representation to other communities while keeping the SCs at the helm.
The formula of Dalit president and Muslim vice-president has been implemented in the district units of Mathura, Kushinagar and Sitapur as well. “Now, these V-Ps will be the faces of the BSP among Muslims and will definitely help the party in reaching out to their community,” said a party leader. “We already have leaders like Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Munquad Ali at senior posts. These Muslim faces at district level will send out the message that the party is giving importance to the community,” he said.
Addressing BSP’s Savdhan Maharally in Lucknow on January 15, Mayawati had said there was a need for Dalit-Muslim bhaichara to keep the BJP away from power and urged the Muslims to vote for BSP.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.