For independent India, the first ever elections were not just a celebration of coming out from under the British Raj but it was also a huge responsibility to form a government on their own. The first ever polls were spread over five months, between October 1951 and February 1952. Congress won with four times as many votes as the closest opponent; even then, many other parties were able to make a mark.
Dr B.R. Ambedkar was, and still is, an influential name when it comes to Dalit rights. He was a spokesperson for Dalit movement and empowerment; it was evident that a personality like him would aim straight for victory. However, as the newly emerging political parties were trying to get a stronghold on people, Ambedkar lost to politics played by A. Dange, and another representative of Dalits who practiced Gandhian ideologies won.
Narayan Sadoba Kajrolkar of the Congress party was a social worker and Indian independence activist. He contested against B.R. Ambedkar in the first Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North Central constituency in 1952. Interestingly, he worked as a personal assistant to Ambedkar for several years before forming an opposing league and winning by over 15,000 votes.
Kajrolkar, a veteran of the anti-British struggle, always represented the scheduled caste. As he was born in the Mahar community, the freedom fighter instantly realized his role and responsibility to work for the upliftment of his community. He was a member of the Dalit Varga Sangha and a member of the first Backward Classes Commission of 1953.
Many Dalit colleagues of B.R. Ambedkar who had worked with him earlier in the 1927 Mahad satyagraha decided to change political allegiances. His co-workers expected more transformative politics to bring about change at a larger scale and therefore moved to other parties.
A. Dange, one of the founders of the Communist Party of India, distributed pamphlets calling Ambedkar anti-nationalist. He advertised about Ambedkar that he favored separate electorates for the Scheduled Caste and Muslims, and suggested that Kashmir can be divided. This contributed to a huge loss in the vote bank for the weaver of the Indian constitution.
Narayan Sadoba Kajrolkar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1970, the third highest civilian honor, for his immense contribution to the betterment of society. Going against what people expected from a person of the chamar community to do, he also ran a food processing business.