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BJP-DALITS

After minorities, BJP now woos weaker sections

Friday 23 April 2004

New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) With exit polls speaking of a none-too-impressive performance, BJP today planned to step up efforts to woo dalits, tribals and backward classes and announced a focused campaign by its leaders belonging to these communities in areas with their pre-dominant presence.

In what is being perceived by political observers as a response to non-too-favourable results of exit polls, 25 senior leaders, including Dilip Singh Judeo, a Rajput leader who has a following among the Chhattisgarh tribals, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharati, Sanjay Paswan, Karia Munda, Sangh Priya Gautam, Jai Narayan Nishad and Narendra Modi would fan out to key seats in UP and Bihar to canvass support for the party. "BJP has come to occupy the space held by Congress two to three decades back. In the last five years, the NDA Government took revolutionary steps for the empowerment of the weaker sections," party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters. This included extension of political reservation for 10 years, separate ministry for tribal affairs and appointment of nine ministers belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes among other things, he said. Reeling out statistics to prove that BJP gave wider representation to the weaker sections, he said 79 Lok Sabha seats for Scheduled Castes, the party had 25 in the dissolved House while Congress had only seven. Of the 41 seats of Scheduled Tribes, BJP had 21 whereas Congress had only nine. "The BJP has brought these sections to the political mainstream of the country and their turnout in the last phase was an indication of their satisfaction with NDA," he claimed.

See online : Outlook India

P.S.

in Outlook India, April 23, 2004.

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