Congress banking on Dalit voters

Congress banking on Dalit voters

While deciding to focus more on Dalit voters, the screening committee of the Congress met on Wednesday to finalise the names of the second list of candidates for next month’s Assembly election.  

Party sources said the second list of candidates is likely to be announced in a day or two.

Sources said the party is devising a special strategy to win back Dalit voters in the coming Assembly polls.

With Muslim voters, another traditional vote bank of the Congress, showing little signs of coming back to the Congress fold, the grand old party is working overtime to win back Dalits who, along with Muslims, had swayed towards the Aam Aadmi Party in the December 2013 Assembly polls.

Senior party leader Chattar Singh said the party this time is going to focus on its tradition vote banks, which included Dalits, Muslims and the poor citizen.

“We are going to work on our strongholds,” he said. Dalit leader Jaikishen, a former Delhi legislator, is likely to be used as an icon for wooing voters from the Valmiki community.

The woo-Dalit strategy of the Congress is likely to be visible more in the New Delhi constituency from where Aam Aadmi Party’s chief ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal is likely to contest in the February polls.

About one-fifth of the voters in the constituency are from the Valmiki community.
“We are expecting a large chunk of Valmiki community to vote  back for the Congress in this constituency,” said a leader.

In our feedback, we have found that members of the Valmiki community have started realising that the AAP wave was a momentary phenomenon.

“Many of them admit that they committed a mistake by deserting the Congress. You wait for the poll results and the outcome will be shocking for the AAP,” said Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma.

He claimed Kejriwal faces a serious threat of losing from the New Delhi constituency, which the AAP leader failed to serve during his 49-day tenure as a chief minister and nine-month stint as a legislator from constituency.

There are 12 reserved seats out of the 70 in the city. Apart from these, there are about a dozen other Assembly constituencies where the Dalit voters can influence the final outcome in the election.