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Congress to scour Dalit villages in UP for votes

They will also “remind“ the target constituency of the work done for the community by Congress regimes and paint rivals BSP , BJP and SP as anti-Dalit. The Dalit outreach, to be launched on December 4, will last for 45 days during which the teams will also list the community’s expectations from the next government. These are likely to form part of the party manifesto to be released closer to polls.
While Congress earlier decided to launch 200 teams to visit 8,500 “Dalit villages“ across the state, it has trimmed the target to only hamlets that fall in the 85 SCST reserved constituencies.They are spread over 66 of the total 75 districts in UP . Besides Dalit households, Congress will also carry out extensive mapping of these villages by listing key “opinion leaders“ from upper castes in these places -to be tapped during the campaign.
The programme appears ambitious given that Congress has been badly marginalised in the state over the last three decades and its one-time strong support base of Dalits has long shifted to BSP as also other rivals.BJP is another strong claimant for SCs this time.
A senior Congress member admitted to the uphill task at hand when he said a preliminary analysis found that the party did not even have “potential candidates“ to be fielded from the reserved constituencies. Congress teams will visit every “Dalit village“ in reserved constituencies in Uttar Pradesh in the coming weeks to woo its long lost support base as the party aims to save face in the 2017 assembly elections.
According to the Dalit outreach programme, 85 teams of Congress leaders will visit 2,800 villages, each with over 500 Dalit inhabitants. A “team host“ has already been identified in every village, who will serve as the party’s go-to person for Dalits in the weeks ahead.
The teams, comprising members of different Dalit sub-castes, will spend a day in each village, holding public meetings, garlanding Ambedkar statues and urging people to vote for Congress.

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