Gangaram Ambedkar, who was officer on special duty (OSD) to BSP supremo Mayawati when she was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has now taken to politics full-time. The party has decided to field him from the Maleehabad constituency of Lucknow district in the assembly polls due in 2017. At the request of Gangaram, Mayawati has adopted a village, Maal, in the constituency under the MP Model Village Scheme. FORWARD Press correspondent Ankit Pal ‘Banjara’ spoke with Gangaram:
How did you happen to join politics?
In February 1989, BSP founder Kanshi Ram saheb was to address a street-corner meeting in Jehanabad, Uttar Pradesh. At that time, I was a student of class eight. I went to hear him. I heard him say that you should protect your vote just as you protect your mother, sister or daughter. “Do not give your vote to the wrong people,” he said. I was so influenced by the speech that I became a member of the BSP. I went to the public meetings of the BSP, travelling in tractor-trailers. I participated in as many programmes of the party as possible.
You are the young face of the BSP. Other parties are also encouraging young people. Are the youngsters getting adequate opportunities in the BSP?
The BSP is only 30 years old. More than 80 er cent of our workers and leaders at every level are young. Recently, Behenji has ordered that in every sector, 10 members should be between 18 and 25 years of age and another ten should be of the 25-35 age group.
What is the difference between youth leaders of the BSP and those of other parties?
Other parties lure the youth of our community while in BSP, we tell the youngsters about their history and prepare a solid ground for their future.
How does the BSP propose to deal with communal polarization in the 2017 assembly polls?
Ever since Independence, the people of this country are being fooled. The Congress came up with the slogan of “Garibi Hatao” decades ago, but poverty has yet to be wiped out in our country. If the BJP-led NDA has managed to come to power, it is primarily because of the disunity between the Hindus and Muslims. This is the BJP’s formula of coming to power. After exploiting the Ram temple issue, it is now trying to use Ganga to gain electoral advantage.
Kanshiram had bequeathed BSP as a national party to the current generation. Today, it has no members in the Lok Sabha. What is the reason?
Earlier, many different parties contested against the BSP. However, after we got a majority in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and formed the government on our own in 2007, all our rivals became united and began transferring their vote banks to each other, depending on the situation in different constituencies. They have been doing this since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Depending on whether the candidate of SP, BJP or Congress is best placed in a constituency, the other parties transfer their votes to him. But we are determined to counter their strategy with our full might.
Published in the February 2015 issue of the Forward Press magazine
Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of the Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) community’s literature, culture, society and culture. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +919968527911, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)