IN AN attempt to woo Lodhs in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP would celebrate the birth anniversary of Rani Avanti Bai Lodhi across the state on Tuesday.
Avanti Bai was the queen of Ramgarh, which at present comes under Madhya Pradesh. She is remembered for her valiant fight against the British rule.
Sources in BJP said this was the first time that the party was going to celebrate Avanti Bai’s birth anniversary on such a large scale. Earlier, such celebrations were held only at places which had memorials on Avanti Bai.
But with an eye on the state polls next year, the party is leaving no stone unturned to woo Lodhs, who are spread across as many as 80 Assembly segments, including in SP strongholds of Etawah, Mainpuri, Kannauj and Firozabad.
On August 16, BJP leaders would garland statues of Avanti Bai and hold conventions to tell the people about her contribution to the nation. The party has tasked state general secretary Anupama Jaiswal, secretary Amar Pal Maurya and senior leader Ashok Tiwari to prepare for the event.
“The party is celebrating Avanti Bai’s birth anniversary because of her contribution in national interest. BJP is proud of what Avanti Bai has done…,” Jaiswal said, while claiming that BJP’s decision to celebrate her birth anniversary was not inspired by caste politics.
The party, sources said, faces a vacuum when it comes to putting up a convincing Lodh face before the community, which is dominant in Bundelkhand, Bareilly and Braj regions in UP.
“Former chief minister Kalyan Singh was a Lodh and had a strong following among the community. But he is not politically active anymore and is at present the Governor of Rajasthan. Union Minister Uma Bharti too is from the community. An MP from Jhansi in Bundelkhand, she is also not very active in the region. To attract Lodh voters, BJP is not getting a convincing face,” said a BJP leader.
“Hence, it will be better if great personalities from Lodh castes are honoured to attract the community’s support.”
Another leader said almost all the parties celebrate the birth anniversary of Avanti Bai. “By celebrating in every district, BJP will try to take a lead over other parties,” he said.
In Lucknow, celebrations will begin from Hazratganj, where a statue of Avanti Bai would be garlanded by former MP Lalji Tandon. State vice-president Dharmapal, former MP Ganga Charan Rajput and leader Uma Shankar Lodhi would address a seminar at the party office. BJP workers from mahanagar and zila units would be present on the occasion.