Rahul to take on Mayawati with help of former BSP leaders

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Lucknow, May 6 (UNI) With politics over Dalits in Uttar Pradesh hotting up between Congress and the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was roping in some former BSP leaders to help in making a dent into the Dalit vote bank.

Congress General Secretary and Amethi MP, Rahul had prepared a list of around 42 such former BSP Dalit leaders, who would be contacted and asked to be a part of the Congress, to woo back the vote-bank.

''Most of the BSP leaders, who were part of the mission, launched by Kanshiram and were now neglected by Ms Mayawati, have been contacted and the Congress General Secretary himself was leading the mission'', said a senior Congress leader.

Recently, during the state level convention of the Congress at Kanpur, Mr Gandhi had commented that the Dalit leaders in BSP were feeling ignored by Ms Mayawati, as she was not pursuing the path of late Kanshiram, in uplifting the Dalits.

Senior Congress Dalit leader Rajbahadur, hailing from Pratapgarh and one of the prominent figures during the foundation of BSP in the state, told UNI here that most the people who were with Kanshiram, were being neglected in the present regime, have shown their interest in working with the Congress.

''We are talking with several such Dalit leaders as they have been ignored by Ms Mayawati'', he said adding Mr Gandhi, was taking interest in the issue and was interacting with such leaders and wanted to know the real problems of the Dalit in the state.

Former BSP leader Mohar Singh, from Etawah, who was the election-in-charge of Kanshiram in 1991, had also admitted that Congress has approached him, to lead the Dalit movement in the state. Mohar Singh was with the Samajwadi Party uptil now and he might join the Congress now.

Rajbahadur, who was a minister in the BSP-SP coalition government in the state in 1992, said only Congress can provide succour to the Dalits in the state as now Ms Mayawati was only reaping the harvest when the hardwork was done by Kanshiram.

Another ex-BSP leader Suresh Chandra Gautam, who was an OSD to Ms Mayawati when she was the Chief Minister in 1995, said now several Dalits BSP leaders were on the verge of taking a plunge by joining the Congress.

''After the death of Kanshiram, the people who had worked with the late leader were shown the door by Ms Mayawati, and the Congress will be happy to have them in their party'', Mr Gautam said here.

Suresh, who was member of the BSP's national working committee and was the district convenor of the Barabanki district, said Dalits were being treated as bonded vote bank of the BSP, with the party doing nothing to uplift the community.

Other prominent former BSP leaders who were in touch with the Congress included former MP Rekha Chug, Deenanath Bhashkar, ex-minister Masood Ahmed, ex-BSP General Secretary Ram Samraj and Mewa Lal Baghi of Bhadoi.

UNI MB SB RSA SSC1401

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