Chhattisgarh: BJP's Dalit outreach gets boost on sect leader's entry

Update: 2023-08-24 02:08 GMT
The BJP is not only targeting the party workers and sympathizers but also various community associations and professional bodies (Facebook)

Raipur: The dalit outreach by BJP in Chhattisgarh has received a major boost ahead of the year-end assembly polls with the leading sect leader of Satnami community joining the party.

Sant Baldas, an influential leader of the Satnamis, a dalit community in Chhattisgarh, along with four other leaders of the sect joined BJP here late on Tuesday evening after quitting Congress.

Incidentally, Baldas had switched over to Congress from BJP before the 2018 assembly polls, leading the ruling Congress to bag seven out of ten seats reserved for scheduled castes in the state.

The Satnami sect, founded by Baba Guru Ghasidas, constitutes eight percent of the total 13 percent scheduled caste population in Chhattisgarh.

Baldas is considered the most influential sect leader of the community in the state.

He had helped BJP win nine out of ten seats reserved for SC in the state in the 2013 assembly polls. He was in the BJP then.

Congress had however successfully wooed the sect leader along with his nephew Rudradas Guru, another influential sect leader, before 2018 assembly polls, helping the party retain its dalit vote bank in the polls then.

Rudradas Guru is now a minister in the Bhupesh Baghel ministry.

“Sant Baldas’ return to BJP has given a major boost to our party in our current efforts to reach out to dalits in the state”, BJP spokesman Sanjay Srivastav said on Wednesday.

A senior Congress leader has echoed similar feelings, saying that ‘The development is certainly a setback for Congress’.

“The Congress has been caught in the crossfire in the power struggle between Baldas and his nephew Rudradas in their sect. Hence, the party has found itself in a situation in which it has been left with the only option of choosing one of the two leaders”, the Congress leader, requesting not to be quoted, said while explaining the situation.

Meanwhile, former IAS officer Neelakanth Tekam, a tribal, on Wednesday joined BJP, giving a boost to the party’s efforts to retain its tribal vote bank in Bastar in the state ahead of the year-end assembly elections.

Mr Tekam, who has resigned from his service recently to take a plunge into politics, had served in the tribal-dominated Bastar division for most of his service career and was a popular bureaucrat among the local tribals.

He had served as collector of the districts of Kanker and Kondagaon in Bastar at different points of time and had endeared himself with the local tribals by solving their day-to-day problems during the period.

“Mr Tekam has influence in at least three assembly constituencies in Bastar- Kanker, Keshkal and Kondagaon-, all reserved for scheduled tribe”, a senior BJP leader of Bastar said.


Similar News