Samajwadi Party to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti after friendship with Mayawati
Lucknow, April 5: The Samajwadi Party is set to celebrate Dr Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14 in a big way after its new-found bonhomie with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won it two Lok Sabha seats in recent bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.
The party which had stayed content with celebrating anniversaries of socialist ideologues like Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Janeshwar Misra so far has asked all its district units to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti at the district party headquarters or any public place to mark the day.
Though the Samajwadi Party's move has not gone down well with the BJP, which has termed it a big drama, political analyst Ramesh Dixit said it is aimed at further consolidating the relations.
"All the forces of social justice are coming together on one platform... this move is aimed at consolidating the friendship for the cause of defeating rivals," Dixit said, who retired as head of the political science department of Lucknow University.
“It is also a move to claim the legacy of social justice espoused by these parties which was being grabbed by the BJP which has had no connection with them," he said.
Samajwadi Party which had been holding customary functions on Ambedkar Jayanti has this time asked its partymen to recall the services of Babasaheb as also his resolve taken while framing the Constitution.
SP's state unit president Party Naresh Uttam said that on 127th anniversary of Babasaheb this April 14, all district and city unit heads have been asked to pay homage and recall his immense contribution to the country and emancipation of the downtrodden.
This will be perhaps the first time that a conscious effort is being made by the SP to ensure celebrations on Dr Ambedkar Jayanti on a big scale.
The BSP had been organising Ambedkar Jayanti annually on a big scale with its president Mayawati leading partymen in paying homage to the Dalit icon. There are, however, no plans yet to hold any joint SP-BSP programmes on the day.
“It is wrong to say that we will be celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti for the first time. The party has always paid tributes to Dr Ambedkar on his birth and death anniversary and we hold him in high esteem," SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said.
A senior SP leader on condition of anonymity said that party will try to remove doubts in the minds, if any, that its ideology was at variance with that of BSP and reach out to all sections of society.
Before the coming Lok Sabha elections early next year, the Ambedkar Jayanti will give a chance to increase the interaction and coordination between the cadres of both the parties in order to develop better understanding, he said.
It is a fact that the success of any alliance of these two major players in the state depend on how Dalits and OBCs, especially Yadavs, come to terms with each other, he said.
BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi however said, "It is a big drama… ever since the SP has made 'elephant' (BSP's election symbol) its friend, it is worried for the Dalits but the people of Uttar Pradesh have not forgotten how Dalits were at the receiving end on the very day when Akhilesh Yadav had become the chief minister in 2012 and how their houses and hamlets were set ablaze."
The “understanding” between the SP and the BSP in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bye-elections stopped the victory march of the BJP, which along with its allies had bagged 73 of the 80 parliamentary seats in the state.
While Gorakhpur is the home turf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Phulpur was represented by his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and defeats in both the places at the hands of the SP caused considerable embarrassment to the saffron party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, though the BJP took a sweet revenge soon afterwards by defeating the BSP candidate in the recent Rajya Sabha biennial elections in the state.