Is Chandrashekhar becoming the new 'gem' of Dalits? He will set the sun of BSP and write a new history of 100 years of Dalit Satyagraha!

Ananya Shroff
9 Min Read

New Delhi: On 20 March 1927, Mahad taluka of Raigad district of Maharashtra was going to write a new chapter in history. Thousands of members of the Dalit class had gathered in Mahad to participate in the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Satyagraha. Ambedkar and his supporters marched to the Chavdar pond in Mahad. Where they drank water and claimed their right to equality and equal access to public resources. This satyagraha caused a stir in the traditional and staunchly conservative society. The oppressed castes also performed purification rituals of the pond, which according to them had become impure by the touch of untouchables. Eventually, Ambedkar won after a 10-year long battle in the court. Actually, animals could drink water in this pond of Mahad, but Dalits were prohibited from drinking water. This bugle of the movement started a new revolution of Dalit consciousness in India. Earlier, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad has written a new chapter by winning the Nagina Lok Sabha seat.

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The first mass protest of untouchables was the Mahad Satyagraha

The Mahad Satyagraha of 1927 under the leadership of Ambedkar is considered to be the first major mass protest of the untouchables. It was also the first attempt to awaken Dalit consciousness. At that time Ambedkar had said – It is not that we will become immortal by drinking the water of Chavdar Lake. We have survived well even without drinking water for so many days. We are not going to Chavdar Lake just to drink its water. We are going to the lake to express that we are also human beings like others. ” Ambedkar had said in his article Annihilation of Caste (1936) that political reform in the sense of reconstruction of society cannot happen without social reform.

This is how Chandrashekhar Azad won the Nagina Lok Sabha seat

India Alliance's 43 seats vs. Azad's 1 seat

BJP which won 62 seats in the last election has been reduced to 31 seats this time. This time Dalit voters have come in large numbers towards All India Alliance. Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party has won 37 and Congress has won 6 seats. Azad has won Nagina Lok Sabha seat. This seat is also important because it used to be the stronghold of BSP and SP. Dalit voters play a decisive role on this seat, along with this there are also a good number of Muslim votes here. In such a situation, Azad's victory here is a new sign of Dalit politics.

Azad is popular among the youth who watch films and make reels

According to Professor Namdev, a professor at Delhi University's Kirori Mal College and a Dalit writer, Mayawati has been away from active politics for the last decade. Her attitude was not the same as before. In such a situation, the emergence of Chandrashekhar Azad as a new face in Dalit politics is a good sign. One thing about Chandrashekhar that makes him special is that he is very popular among the youth, people like his imposing moustache and his dressing style. His image has become stronger after every movement. Today, Dalit youth are those who keep a mobile in their hand, look at the watch and make reels, in such a situation they needed a young and strong leader. Azad has all the ability to influence Dalit youth or voters.

Azad's litmus test will be in the upcoming assembly elections

Professor Nishikant Kolge, associated with the research institute Center for the Study of Developing Societies, says that the emergence of Chandrashekhar Azad in this Lok Sabha election is a big sign for Dalit politics. Chandrashekhar is young and has immense potential in the field of Dalit politics. The way the performance of Kanshiram and Mayawati's BSP is going down, the emergence of Chandrashekhar raises new hopes. However, it is too early to say that he can replace Mayawati. In fact, to reach Mayawati's place, he will have to work harder and make a deep penetration among Dalit youth. The upcoming assembly elections of UP will prove to be an experiment for him to see how much importance Dalit voters are giving to him or his party.

Nishikant Kolge, CSDS

How Azad's graph kept rising as he entered 2015

Chandrashekhar Azad formed an organization named Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission in 2015, which was commonly called Bhim Army. The purpose of this organization was to fight for the rights of Dalits. After this, Azad participated actively in many Dalit movements in the country and emerged as a big face as a leader of Dalits. In March 2020, firebrand leader Azad formed a political party named Azad Samaj, in which many leaders of SP, BSP and RJD joined.

chandrashekhar azad

Why is Chandrashekhar's victory from Nagina so important?

Nagina Lok Sabha seat was formed after delimitation in 2008. This seat is reserved for scheduled castes because about 21 percent of the voters here are Dalits. At the same time, 50 percent of the voters here are Muslims. There are five assembly seats in Nagina Lok Sabha constituency, out of which currently 3 seats are with SP, while 2 seats are with BJP. In such a situation, the votes of Dalit voters and Muslim voters in support of Azad matter here.

Contested two seats, won one

Chandrashekhar's party contested elections on only two seats in Uttar Pradesh, Nagina and Dumariyaganj. The party's candidate from Dumariyaganj seat got more than 81 thousand votes. At the same time, BSP's Mohammad Nadeem got only about 36 thousand votes. BJP candidate Jagdambika Pal won this seat, who defeated SP's Bhishma Shankar alias Kushal Tiwari.

Navbharat TimesNagina Election Result 2024 Live: Chandrashekhar Azad made history in Nagina seat, surprised big parties

Chandrashekhar was against the Citizenship Amendment Act

When the movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act started in the country, Chandrashekhar openly joined this movement. Amidst a crowd of thousands, he came out of Delhi's Jama Masjid with a copy of the Constitution in his hand. Wherever he got information about the exploitation of Dalits or the deprived in the country, he reached there. This attitude of his created a craze among Dalit youth and in a few years he became a popular face.

Contested UP elections but could not win even 1 seat

Chandrashekhar's Azad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) contested the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh alone. But, not a single candidate of theirs could win. Before contesting alone, he had met Akhilesh Yadav for an alliance with the SP, but things did not work out. Before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Chandrashekhar became close to Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Chaudhary. RLD, which was part of the Bharat Alliance, later joined the BJP-led NDA alliance. Chandrashekhar again decided to contest alone.

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