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.