India

Eyeing Dalit votes, Congress to hold conferences, membership drives across U.P.


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| Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

The Congress party is attempting to reach out to the numerically significant Dalit voters through district level Dalit chaupals and divisional level conferences to talk about their issues by further pushing its ‘Save the Constitution’ campaign.

The outreach, which was planned in a party meeting held this week, will include membership drives among Dalits across all 403 Assembly seats. Congress leaders added that the ‘Save the Constitution’ campaign helped the grand old party to make sizeable gains among the social group in the Lok Sabha election. The party leadership added that further strengthening the Dalit support will improve its prospects amid the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) eroding support in Uttar Pradesh.

“We have planned of organising district level Dalit chaupals and divisional level conferences over issues concerning the community. The divisional level conferences are planned in Gorakhpur (Eastern U.P.), and three other places in eastern, central and western U.P. in the initial phase. The whole programme is planned under the vision of the Scheduled Caste department of the party,” Anil Yadav, U.P. Congress General Secretary, told The Hindu.

He added, “We will also undertake special membership drive among the community and take initiatives across all the 403 Assembly seats in U.P.”

Congress party’s renewed push among the Dalit community will follow up after its recent impressive Lok Sabha performance in U.P. where it won six seats out of 17 contested under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance bloc. This was the party’s best performance since the 2009 Lok Sabha election. The BSP received only 9.39% of the votes in 2024 Lok Sabha election; this was the Dalit centric party’s poorest showing since the 1991 U.P. Legislative Assembly election. The Dalit community constitutes roughly 21% of the State’s population.

Many within the Congress believe Dalits, who traditionally voted for the grand old party, may return to party’s fold if dedicated attempts are made. The party lost this base of voters with the rise of BSP in U.P.’s political landscape. “Traditionally Dalit community has been our core support base. We are hopeful that our outreach will consolidate the goodwill within the community,” Mr. Yadav added.



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