Chandrashekhar Azad: A Dalit leader, but a leader for all

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Chandrashekhar Azad, recently elected MP of Nagina, comments on Caste identity and politics and calls for a change in attaching rigid identity labels to politicians. 

Story: Nitya Kaimal

“I was born a Dalit because there is caste system in this country, but I don’t just fight for Dalits,” says Chandrashekhar Azad in a recent interview with the Print. He spoke about how while he is a member of the Dalit community, it is not the only community he fights for. As a representative of the constituency of Nagina, Uttar Pradesh, Azad stated that he works for the benefit of all its citizens and all the religious and cultural communities that they belong to. The 1.5 Lakh vote margin by which he defeated the BJP candidate in Nagina demonstrates his diverse support.

One grievance that Azad voiced pertained to the rigid labelling of politicians based on caste. Mayawati’s entire identity, for example, was reduced entirely to being a Dalit leader by the media, despite being a representative of all.

Chandrashekhar Azad labels himself as a follower of Kanshi Ram’s ideology, and the founder of BSP. As such, he advocates for “this country’s pichhde (backwards), Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, and all the men and women of this country like I have been doing.”

Also read: Lok Sabha Elections and Chandrashekhar’s Rise to Power

When asked about the declining popularity of the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, the recently elected MP commented on the failure of the party to meet the need for modern thinking and a futuristic approach. In an interview with IndiaToday, Azad says “She (Mayawati) did a lot of work during her time, but now I want the ASP to complete her unfinished projects.” The party used to dominate UP politics, but now has only one MLA and zero MPs.

About the INDIA bloc and previous talks of an alliance between them and the ASP, Azad claimed that the possibility of a partnership failed because of hesitation by the Samajwadi party. He also stated that a partnership would have been beneficial for them since he was always confident of his ability to win the support of the people of Nagina. Azad also commented on how the INDI alliance owes a large part of its victory to the Dalit and Adivasi communities, a claim supported strongly by post-election analyses.

Also read: Dalit woman from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur set to be one of the youngest MPs in Lok Sabha.

*दलित टाइम्स उन करोड़ो लोगो की आवाज़ है जिन्हें हाशिए पर रखा गया है। *

महिला, दलित और आदिवासियों के मुद्दों पर केंद्रित पत्रकारिता करने और मुख्यधारा की मीडिया में इनका प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए हमें आर्थिक सहयोग करें।


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