As part of his strategy to bring together smaller parties, especially non-Yadav OBCs, ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday addressed party workers of Mahan Dal, an OBC-based party headed by Keshav Dev Maurya, in Lucknow.
Presiding over the Mahan Dal meeting as its chief guest, the SP chief lashed out at the BJP, accusing it of wedging a divide in the backward class community by pitting Yadavs against the rest of the OBC. “The BJP says Yadavs are taking all the resources. Sometimes they say that we have snatched away what was yours. This narrative becomes more visible when elections approach… The BJP is just doing politics. You and I are Backwards. We follow in the footsteps of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar… Samajwadi Party is a party of the backwards and demands the rights for all its people,” Akhilesh Yadav said, adding that if Mahan Dal and SP workers would work together in the election, the alliance could win 400 of the total 403 seats.
Reiterating the demand for a caste-based census, Yadav said: “First the Congress refused to do a caste census, then the BJP. The BJP will never do a caste-based census because they know who are demographically more. I assure all our people that when we will form the government, we will do a caste census. Even if the Central government in Delhi refuses to do so, we will do it.”
The Mahan Dal enjoys support from Backward communities like Mauryas, Khushwahas, Sakhyas and Sainis.
Mahan Dal chief Keshav Dev Maurya said his party’s only aim is to remove the BJP from power. “They have not helped any community in the state. All communities are suffering — the Backwards, the Dalits, and the Muslims,” he said. Asked if they have reached a seat-sharing arrangement with the SP, Maurya said, “Yes, we have. But it is too early to disclose it.”
“Our slogan is Mahan Dal ne thahna hain, Samajwadi Party sarkar banana hain (Mahan Dal has decided to make Samajwadi Party government),” he added.