Union Home Minister Amit Shah is slated to hold ‘Nishad Samaj Jan Sabha’ in Uttar Pradesh on Friday as many political parties in the state are trying to woo castes beyond their core vote base in order to set social equations in their favour ahead of Assembly elections months away.
Top sources in the government told ANI that the Home Minister, in his day-long visit to Uttar Pradesh, will attend a “Nishad Samaj Jan Sabha on December 17 (Friday) in Lucknow”.
“Amit Shah is slated to attend the event between 2 pm and 3 pm,” said the source, requesting anonymity.
Besides, the Home Minister will inaugurate 23 new branches of Uttar Pradesh Cooperative Bank between 3.45 pm and 4.45 pm.
Shah will also dedicate 29 godowns of Uttar Pradesh State Warehousing Corporation during the event.
The Home Minister will also participate in the inauguration of the seventh National Convention of Sahakar Bharati between 4.45 pm and 6.40 pm.
Shah’s visit to Uttar Pradesh to attend ‘Nishad Jan Sabh’ comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in September end this year formally announced an alliance with the Nishad (Nirbal Indian Shoshit Humara Aam Dal) party led by Sanjay Nishad. BJP said it was also in talks with other small parties to fight the upcoming Uttar Pradesh 2022 assembly polls.
Political experts indicate that the Nishad community has been a useful electoral asset for the BJP as was seen during the previous elections.
The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (Nishad) party also launched a survey, along with its alliance partner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in various districts of eastern and central Uttar Pradesh in August.
The exercise was meant to identify the seats on which Nishad party nominees will be in a winnable position in the 2022 Assembly election due early next year. The survey report is learnt to be submitted to BJP national president J.P. Nadda to finalize the seat-sharing formula for the election.
The votes of the Nishad community are expected to be decisive in around 160 assembly constituencies in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.
A total of 18 districts in Uttar Pradesh have a sizeable population of the Nishad community. They are Prayagraj, Firozabad, Ballia, Sant Kabir Nagar, Banda, Ayodhya, Sultanpur, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Auraiya, Lucknow, Unnao, Meerut, Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Varanasi, and Jaunpur. The BJP is dominant in about 20 Lok Sabha constituencies and 60 Assembly segments in Uttar Pradesh.
The seat-sharing has not been announced yet. In 2017, the BJP had given a total of 19 seats to its two allies-Apna Dal(S) and the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). Formed in 2016, the NISHAD party had contested 100 seats on its own and won in 1.
In an attempt to woo the Nishad community, SP president Akhilesh Yadav met Moola Devi, the mother of bandit-turned-politician, the late SP MP Phoolan Devi in November.
The Samajwadi Party between September to November also launched several yatras, assigning its leaders and coalition partners — mostly from non-Yadav backward castes — to reach out to the masses. Former minister Ram Kishore Bind also held social conventions with leaders of the Bind, Nishad, Kevat, and Mallah communities.