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Bhim Army asks Dalits to vote for Congress candidate Imran Masood

April 9, 2019
SAHARANPUR (UP): The Bhim Army has appealed to the Dalit community to vote for Imran Masood, the Congress candidate in Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency. It has a considerable following in western Uttar Pradesh among the Dalits. This follows Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati calling Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad as a "BJP agent."

The rally of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary for east Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Saharanpur was called off on Tuesday where the announcement of support was to be made. The meeting was called off due to bad weather.

The BSP-SP-RLD alliance has fielded Faizul Rehman for the seat. Sitting BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal is seeking re-election from the constituency. At a joint rally in Deoband in the constituency on Sunday, Mayawati had appealed to Muslim voters to consolidate behind Mr Rehman and ensure that their votes do not get split. A Bhim Army leader alleged that BSP-SP activists manhandled a number of Dalits carrying pictures of Chandrashekhar at the rally and tore their posters.

Congress general secretary for east Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had met Chandrashekhar at a Meerut hospital last month. When Chandrashekhar announced plan to contest against Prime Minister Modi in Varanasi, Mayawati had termed him an "agent of the BJP who wants to split Dalit votes".

In response to her remark, Chandrashekhar had said SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh were "agents of the BJP" as they "allowed atrocities on Dalits".

During the 2018 Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll, the Bhim Army had made an appeal to voters in favour of the opposition candidate, RLD's Tabassum Hassan, who managed to get Dalit support.

In 2014, Lakhanpal had won. Masood came close second with 4,07, 909 votes. Of a total of 17,22,580 voters, six lakh are Muslims. There are around three lakh SC/ST voters. Saharanpur goes to te polls in the first phase on April 11.

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