The Congress is said to be in touch with the BSP for an alliance for the upcoming Assembly polls in Haryana but the move has divided the party’s state unit. Training guns at Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former PCC chief Ashok Tanwar said the Congress will get the Dalit vote on its own if the Kanshi Rams and Mayawatis in the party are shown respect.
Tanwar argued there was no need for an alliance with the BSP, which he said has been losing ground in every election. There are unconfirmed reports that newly-appointed Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja and CLP leader and election management committee chief Hooda met BSP president Mayawati on Sunday night. Both of them denied the reports.
Unhappy with the seat-sharing formula, Mayawati had on Friday announced breaking of ties with former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party, triggering speculation that she and the Congress may join hands to fight the BJP. Chautala had offered 40 of the state’s 90 Assembly seats to the BSP.
Tanwar, who was replaced with another Dalit leader Kumari Selja, last week told The Indian Express that “there was no need for an alliance with the BSP”.
“The BSP has lost ground in very election. The graph of the BSP has gone down in every election since 2009. In the last Assembly election, the BSP got 5.5 per cent. In the Lok Sabha election, it came down to 3.5 per cent. Moreover, the BSP had entered into alliances with three-four parties in the last one year itself. So the credibility factor has gone,” he said. He said the people of Haryana don’t trust the BSP, be it the “poor, Dalits or others”.
Hitting out at Hooda, he said “there is no need for an alliance with the BSP”. “Instead take care of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati in your house…Mend your behaviour with them. Instead of worshipping those outside, give respect to the Kanshi Ram and Mayawati in your house. Stop the pressure tactics and goondagardi. Dalit votes will come on their own.”
The factional feud in the Haryana Congress is far from over after the change in leadership last week. Both Tanwar and former CLP Kiran Choudhry skipped a welcome meeting organised for Selja and Hooda at the HPCC headquarters in Chandigarh on Saturday. “When Tanwar was the state Congress president… there was no talk of alliance with the BSP. Now that he has been removed, they have suddenly remembered Dalits and felt the need to reach out to the BSP,” one HPCC leader close to Tanwar said.
According to estimates, Dalits comprise around 20 per cent of the state’s population and among the 37 Scheduled Castes, Chamar, Balmiki and Dhanak communities together constitute over 80 per cent of the SC population of the state. Chamar are numerically the largest — constituting over 50 per cent of the state’s SC population.