MCD polls: On Ambedkar Jayanti, BJP plans to reach out to Dalit voters

The Bharatiya Janata Party will look to reach out to Dalit votes on Ambedkar Jayanti today but won't be able to organise any events due to the model code of conduct being in place.

On the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti on Friday, BJP will go out to cash in on Dalit votes ahead of the MCD elections.

The saffron party's field workers, MPs, MLAs and prospective councillors will reach out to the Dalit/backward/OBC caste across Delhi's jhuggis, slums, resettlement colonies and villages, leaders said.

They will participate in the big Bhim Jayanti juloos (procession) that is to be brought out in Chandni Chowk area and various other functions held on the stretch between Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street.

Dalits and Scheduled Castes make up for nearly 20 per cent of the city's electoral population of 12 million, amounting to no less than 20 lakh. Jatavs, Balmikis and other Dalit sub-castes are spread out across Delhi. Their numbers are concentrated in Balmiki Basti near Mandir Marg (New Delhi constituency), south Delhi's Ambedkar Nagar, Deoli and Mehrauli, and north Delhi's Gukpulpuri.

In west Delhi, they are present in good numbers in Karol Bagh, Kirari and Jhandewalan. In outer Delhi, they form chunky strongholds in Mongolpuri, Sultanpuri, Seemapuri and Bawana.

BJP National Vice President, Shyam Jaju, said on Thursday, "On Ambedkar Jayanti, we will ensure our SC brothers and sisters feel that BJP is one with them."

A senior leader added, "Since the Model Code of Conduct is in place, we cannot hold functions of our own. At the max, we can install a big photograph of Babasaheb Ambedkar and garland it."

"But the national leadership has asked all our MPs, MLAs and hopeful councilors - especially those on SC reserved wards - to be present in events wherever taking place in Delhi. Our Anusuchit Jati Morcha, led by Mohan Lal Gihera, and OBC Morcha, led by Gaurav Khari, will be instrumental in this," he said.

Of the 272 MCD wards of Delhi, post the delimitation exercise of February 2017, there are 46 SC reserved wards, both for men and women. A senior BJP leader said, "PM Narendra Modi's vision is that anyone who has ever faced intouchability - not just Jatavs and Valmikis - are Dalits and need our attention."

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