New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has issued instructions to party workers against touching her feet while greeting her.
BSP leaders claim Mayawati's directive issued last week is aimed to send a message to the core BSP constituency to underscore ideological moorings espoused by Dalit reformists from Ambedkar to Kanshi Ram.
Though over the years, leaders genuflecting to touch the four-time Chief Minister’s feet in public functions had become a common sight as Mayawati controlled BSP with a firm grip.
BSP Rajya Sabha MP Munkad Ali told News18, “Behenji (Mayawati) enjoys great respect among party workers. They regard her as their undisputed leader. So it is only natural that they want to show their respect. Wherever she goes, they line up to show their respect and touch her feet. Behenji said that it was not appropriate and issued orders to all party workers to stop doing so.”
Instead, said Ali, party workers have been told to great each other and their leaders with a simple ‘Jai Bhim’ (Hail Bhim). “The BSP has always stood against social inequality of all kinds and Behenji has been a champion of the downtrodden. This will instill a sense of egalitarianism in the party. Using ‘Jai Bhim’ as a greeting will also ensure that party workers reaffirm their belief in ideals of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who is an icon for us all.”
The BSP which lost miserably in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls has been attempting to find its feet, especially in its core constituency. From Chandrashekhar Azad in UP to Jignesh Mewani in Gujarat — alternative voices within the community have attempted to occupy this space. And most importantly, 'the mission mode' modus of the BSP has had to compete with alternative political idioms.
Meanwhile, sources said the BSP has already started its preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We have started constituting booth committees in all Lok Sabha seats. Once that is complete, our workers will start canvassing for the Lok Sabha polls and ensure that more and more people join the party. Things are moving in our favour now as people are upset with the ruling the BJP, both in the Centre and in Lucknow,” said a BSP leader.