To woo Dalit voters in 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has roped in Buddhist monks who will travel across Uttar Pradesh in next six months.
A media report suggests that these monks will inform people about PM Modi’s views on Buddhism and Bhimrao Ambedkar.
Dalits constitute 21 per cent of the total voters in the state and are loyal to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati. So the campaign is seen an aggressive attempt to make inroads into BSP’s turf.
The campaign titled ‘Dhamma Chakra Yatra’, was flagged off by home minister Rajnath Singh in Varanasi in which he vowed to build the tallest statue of Lord Buddha at Kushinagar, where the latter had died.
Led by former RS member Dr Dhamma Viriyo Mahathera, the campaign will end in Lucknow on October 14.
As per the plan, around 70 to 80 bhantes (Buddhist priests) with other followers will visit Buddhist centres in air-conditioned buses. To give a person touch, the vehicles will have images of PM Modi’s visits to Buddhist shrines in India and abroad.
“Monks will donate a TV set at every centre, and play a CD which begins with an hour-long message on Modi’s views on Buddhism and Dr Ambedkar,” a report suggests.
The yatra will be done in four phases and will cover over 70 districts of the state.
It must be noted that the party has already started aggressive campaigning in the state. It was apparent as during PM Modi’s ‘Man ki Baat’ on the radio on April 24, as many as 14 union ministers and national BJP president Amit Shah were present in different parts of the state. They listened to the radio broadcast with the people and also addressed public meetings on the occasion.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani distributed radio sets in Amethi among the people and also announced welfare projects for the electorate.
In Ghaziabad, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the state would develop at a faster pace if BJP came to power after 2017
The NDA ministers slammed the Akhilesh Yadav regime in UP saying that the law and order situation in the state had worsened during his tenure.According to BJP leaders, by raising Dalit issues and making Dalit atrocities its core agenda for the assembly polls, the party wants to make inroads into Mayawati’s vote bank.