Lucknow, Oct 5 (PTI) The deaths of two Dalit women after they were allegedly gangraped in Hathras and Balrampur are likely to figure during the campaign for the seven assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh for which bypolls are to be held next month.
According to estimates, the state's population comprises around 20 per cent Dalits. With their support, the BSP had formed the government in the state in 2007.
In 2017, BJP formed a majority government and in 2012 the SP had formed the government by denting the BSP's Dalit votebank, post-election analysis had revealed. Of the 84 seats reserved in UP for SC and ST candidates, the BJP won 69 seats in the 2017 assembly elections, in the 2012 polls the SP had got 58 of these seats and in 2007 the BSP had secured 62 reserved seats.
Ashok Chowdhury, a Dalit politics expert said, 'BJP had impressed the Dalits in the 2014, 2017 and 2019 elections, but it's difficiult to retain them now'.
The deaths following the alleged gangrapes in Hathras and Balrampur have become a political issue in the state. Even after the suspension of Hathras Superintendent of Police and recommendation of a CBI probe by the state government, the opposition is taking up these issues in a big way.
Whie Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and BSP supremo Mayawati have demanded action against the Hathras District Magistrate, SP president Akhilesh Yadav has demanded a narco analysis test of the officers deployed in Hathras at the time of incident.
For damage control, BJP's Dalit leader and minister Ramapati Shastri has alleged that the opposition did not want the truth about the Hathras incident to come to the fore and wanted 'caste and communal violence there'.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also said those who do not like development are trying to orchestrate 'cast and communal' riots in the state and playing politics and doing conspiracies.
In a bid to maintain its hold on the Dalit vote, BJP roped in Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athawale, who visited Lucknow on Saturday and justified action taken by the CM and attacked the opposition.
Dalit academic Badri Narayan said, 'Those in power should act and those in opposition should raise their voice. Those who were seen on the ground will get the benefit. If government did not take timely action, it will have to face losses (in future elections).' SP spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhry said, 'The people of the state have understood that SP is the only alternative in the state. BJP will get to know about its position in the bypolls.' The bypolls are scheduled to be held on November 3 for seven assembly seats out of which six were held by the BJP in 2017 after the last assembly elections in the state. The Samajwadi Party had won the seventh seat, Malhani (in Jaunpur).
The Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the state in 2022.
Among seven seats going to the bypolls, Naugaon (Amroha) seat got vacated due to the death of minister Chetan Chauhan, Ghatampur (Kanpur) due to death of minister Kamal Rani Varun, Bulandshahr due to the death of Virendra Singh Sirohi, Tundla (seat) on Firozabad due to election of MLA SP Singh Baghel as MP, Bangarmau (Unnao) seat due to conviction of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Deoria seat due to the death of Janmejay Singh.
Malhani seath (in Jaunpur) got vacated due to the death of SP MLA Parasnath Yadav.
Congress state President Ajay Kumar Lallu said his party would contest all seven seats.
BJP state President Swatantra Dev Singh, however, said the ruling party's workers were helping people during the coronavirus pandemic and the people will keep that in mind while voting. PTI AR ABN RDM RDM