Lucknow : In an all out attempt to woo the Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has now planned a feast for the Dalit community across the state on the occasion of the 72 nd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi tomorrow. Earlier, the party had launched 'Bheem Jyoti Rath Yatra' to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkhar in UP to target the dalits. The Bheem Yatra was launched by Dalit leader and Rajya Sabha member PL Punia on Rajiv Gandhi's 71st birth anniversary last year. It covered all Dalit-dominated areas in every district of the state in three phases and the party distributed pamphlets, booklets, handouts and speeches, to make the community aware that the Congress has done the most for them. Vice-chairman of UP Congress Media Committee Maroof Khan here today alleged that the ruling SP was totally anti-Dalit, while the BSP was only shedding crocodile tears for the community. He also blamed the BJP for adopting double standards on the Dalit issue. Mr Khan claimed that his party had worked for Dalit upliftment and always stood behind them during their hours of need.
He disclosed that party would organise a `Community Feast’ for Dalits in all the districts of the state. Ahead of 2012 Assembly polls too, the Congress had tried to woo Dalits in a similar manner. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had started statewide ‘Chetna yatras’ from Ambedkar Nagar district on Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14) in 2010. While those yatras covered all Assembly segments, the Bheem Jyoti Yatra last year also focussed on Dalit-dominated areas in every district. There are 85 reserved constituencies in the state. In the last Assembly polls, Congress could win only four seats — Hapur, Khurja, Jagdishpur in Amethi and Raath in Bundelkhand. Another seat, Duddhi, was won by an Independent candidate — Ms Rubi Prasad — who had the backing of the Congress. Rubi Prasad later switched loyalties to the ruling Samajwadi Party. Besdies, three Reserved constituencies in western UP were won by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) which was Congress’ alliance partner then.