BJP, 3 others go in for Dalits on general seats

CHANDIGARH: The BJP, Swaraj India, INLD and JJP have fielded one Dalit candidate each from general category seats.

Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 7

The BJP, Swaraj India, INLD and JJP have fielded one Dalit candidate each from general category seats. The INLD has given the ticket from Dabwali to Sita Ram.

Swaraj India has given the ticket from Rewari to Manju Bala. She worked as labourer in her childhood and later rose to the position of zila parishad chairperson.

The BJP has fielded Nauksham Chaudhary from Punhana. The JJP has allotted the party ticket from Tosham to Sita Ram.

Major players except the BSP give tickets to Dalits only from reserved constituencies. The state has 17 reserved constituencies and over 20 per cent Dalit population.

“The SCs do not get tickets from unreserved constituencies because they are dispersed and not concentrated in specific areas. The second reason is lesser numerical strength. In seats which have considerable SC and Muslim population, political parties usually choose Muslims,” said Prof Ashutosh Kumar, department of political science, Panjab University.

BR Ambedkar had also raised this issue during Poona Pact that SCs would be at the mercy of upper castes from unreserved seats. He was seeking separate electorate for them, added Kumar. 

“My ticket from a general seat reflects the belief of the party in brotherhood between communities. It assumes significance in the wake of riots during the Jat reservation agitation,” said Sita Ram of the INLD.

He said he had been raising the issues of unemployment and drug addiction from Dabwali. He was elected from the seat twice, in 2000 and 2005, when it was reserved seat.

It was converted into a general category seat in 2009. Before him, his father Mani Ram represented the seat thrice.

On selection of Chaudhary, state BJP president Subhash Barala said, “It is a big development. Nauksham has studied abroad. She has got the ticket on merit and not because of her caste. She has passion to work for the people.”

“The entire Dalit community in Tosham is standing behind me. I am thankful to the JJP for fielding me from a general category seat. We are fighting the legacy of Bansi Lal here and I am getting huge support,” said Sita Ram of the JJP.

The BJP fielded a Dalit candidate from Palwal, an unreserved seat, in 2009. The INLD and Congress did not field any SC candidate from a general category seat in the last three elections. The BSP and Communist parties had been fielding Dalit candidates from general category seats.

The BSP fielded nine Dalits from 73 general category seats in 2014. “This time, we have fielded 24 SCs from general category seats,” said Prakash Bharti, state BSP president.

He said the party fielded a Dalit candidate against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal. The BSP gave ticket to one Dalit candidate from general category seat in 2009 and 14 in 2005.

Dalits have been trying their luck on general seats as independent candidates or from state parties of other states and unrecognised parties. 

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