Tag: Bhim Army chief

Bhim Army chief’s challenge to Narendra Modi fizzles out

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A file photo of Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan (Image credit: India TV)

Dalit leader and Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan on Wednesday retracted his decision to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Varansi Lok Sabah Constituency. Instead, he announced his support to the SP-BSP alliance if it fields Satish Chandra Mishra, Mayawati’s general secretary, for the seat.

“I have decided not to contest from Varanasi because I do not want to strengthen the BJP or Modi in anyway with my decision. For, we all want to defeat the BJP,” he told the media. He also said Mishra’s candidacy would help the alliance get some upper caste votes.

With this announcement Azad has made several U-turns in shot. In March he had declared his candidacy for the Varanasi seat and sought support from all other parties. Then, he had criticised Mishra for conspiring against his Bhim Army by “misleading” BSP chief Mayawati, who is said to critical of him. And at an event to observe Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14 in Madhya Pradesh, he had claimed that it was Bhim Army, not Mayawati, which has real interests for Dalits.

Chandrashekhar Azad was in news in March, when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited him in hospital in Meerut. Following her visit, speculations were rife about his support to Congress in Uttar Pradesh, which he denied at that time. But a few days ago, he announced Bhim Army’s support to Congress candidate Imran Masood in Saharanpur Lok Sabha seat in the state. In Maharashtra also, the Dalit group is supporting the Congress-NCP alliance.

Now it remains to be seen if Azad makes another U-turn to announce his support to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, if she contests against Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

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Who all will contest against Modi in Varanasi?

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Tej Bahadur Yadav, Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Young Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan has announced his candidature against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.  He also held a road show on Saturday in the city and declared that “ the countdown for Modi’s defeat has begun”.

Mr Azad also accused Modi of waiving billion of rupees loans of the rich and harassing the poor and small borrowers, besides snatching jobs of more than two crores youth.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, though, suspects a conspiracy behind Azad’s contest against Modi. She thinks Azad is aiming at helping the BJP. She said the formation of Bhim Army itself was a BJP’s conspiracy to divide Dalit votes, reflecting  the castiest mindset of the saffron party.

Incidentally, Mayawati’s BSP has been founded on a strong Dalit votary.

A former Border Security Force (BSF) soldier has also expressed his desire to contest against Narendra Modi. Tej Bahadur Yadav from Rewari in Haryana was dismissed from service in 2017, following a video showing poor quality food served to BSF soldiers went viral.

“I had raised the issue of corruption but I was sacked. My first objective will be to strengthen and eliminate corruption in the forces,” he told reporters on Saturday.

At the same, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra recently retorted, “Why not from Varanasi?” when the media asked her if she was contesting the April-May Lok Sabha polls and which would be the likely seats for her contest.

It would be interesting to see how many more will join the fray against Prime Minister Modi and if any of them would be able give a fight.

In 2014, Narendra Modi had five opponents initially. But Samajwadi Pary candidate pledged his support to Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal. Modi garnered over 5,80,00 votes, and defeated Kejriwal by over 3,70,000 votes. BSP candidate secured over 60,000 votes and the Congress over 75,000 votes.