UP: Cong reaching out to minority, backward communities with eye on LS polls

01:09 PM Jul 16, 2023 | PTI |

Lucknow: The Congress in Uttar Pradesh is consistently working for bringing members of minority and backward communities into its fold, party leaders said and highlighted the several outreach programmes, including tea stall meetings and Dalit-Muslim ‘sammelans’, being held to win back its “traditional voters”.


The campaigns in the politically important Uttar Pradesh come ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress has been reduced to a marginal player in the state. The party could win only two seats in the assembly election for 403 in Uttar Pradesh in last year’s polls, while the BJP won 255 and the Samajwadi Party 111.

The feedback from these campaigns is that a large section among the minorities and backward classes feel that the present (BJP) government should go, senior Congress leader and former chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes P L Punia claimed.

He also said that this can be achieved only by the Congress, which has a pan-India presence.

Minority department in-charge in the Uttar Pradesh Congress Shahnawaz Alam told PTI, “Special efforts are on to work among minorities and Dalits, and programmes for the same are being organised regularly.”


“In May this year, a 10-day special campaign ‘aap ki party aap ke gaon’ was organised in 3,000 Muslim-dominated villages where small meetings were held and party flags put up at 10 houses in every village,” Shahnawaz said. In western Uttar Pradesh, minorities have “already made up their mind in favour of the Congress”, he claimed.

“We also reached out to members of the Dalit community by holding meetings at tea shops through a programme ‘samvidhan pe charcha’ (discussion on the Constitution). We covered 3,000 tea shops, telling Dalits that Muslims are returning back to their original home (the Congress) and since you too are troubled by this government, you should also do the same,” Shahnawaz said.

He said such programmes are going on in different parts of the state. There will also be a campaign from August 1-8, Shahnawaz said, adding that on April 14 on the occasion of Ramzan, “Dalit-Muslim ekta iftars” were organised in all districts.

“Every month we are directly reporting about our programmes to Congress’ UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and also getting feedback and instructions,” he said, adding that similar efforts are being also made by the backward class cell of the party which is holding divisional level programmes.

In-charge of the SC/ST department of the state Congress, Alok Prasad, said, “‘Samvidhan rakshaks’ are being appointed in gram sabhas to highlight how the government is doing away with special rights like reservation provided to them through the Constitution.”

Dalits are the most oppressed under the present government as no one is raising their voice, he alleged and said that whenever cases of atrocities against Dalits have come up, the Congress has been at the forefront to get them justice.

Dalit leaders such as BSP chief Mayawati have remained silent, he alleged and added that ‘mahasammelans’ of Dalit and backward classes and minority-Dalit sammelans are being held in different districts.

Congress spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said the party is holding direct dialogues with minorities and members of backward classes.

“This time there is a clear change in the trend and people in general are showing an inclination towards the Congress as all other parties, which had claimed to have represented them so far have failed to deliver and people have realised it now,” Awasthi said.

“The traditional vote bank of the Congress has come to understand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is benefitting his favoured few. Not just Muslims, OBCs and Dalits also feel that he should go, and as far as the Parliament is concerned, they think that Congress needs to be supported,” Punia claimed.


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