There has hardly been any day since last one week when Chandrashekhar, the chief of Bhima Army in Saharanpur, is not mentioned in the newspapers. He has been released from jail. His image has been created as the messiah of Dalits. Chandrashekhar left prison last Friday and now there is a gathering of media, leaders, well wishers at his house. Journalists from Delhi and elsewhere are reaching their village Chhutmalpur to interview them. People are coming from far away villages and Uttarakhand. The process of meeting is so much that Chandra Shekhar’s health also deteriorated.
His statements are being published every day. Journalists are exploring political implications in his release. Dalit society has got a new role model. In view of the impending Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, all political parties are now working on the Chandrasekhar factor.
After Chandrasekhar’s release from prison, two things have happened which are clearly visible. Chandrasekhar’s weight and popularity has increased. Second, he has removed the word Ravana from his name. The dress is the same, white jeans, blue shirt, blue cloth and black glasses. Posters have now been made of his photo, which emphasizes mustache. Not only Chandrashekhar, now people are also taking selfies with his mother Kamlesh Devi. People surround them. Some take selfies, some give their visiting cards, some bless their hands with their heads.
Amidst all this, Chandrashekhar is familiar with the media, interviewing someone and giving a statement to someone. In his room are a photo of Dr. Ambedkar and in the other there are pictures of Kanshi Ram, Balmiki, Phule, Buddha and Sant Ravidas.
Is Chandrashekhar really a new Dalit face in Hindi belt politics? Can they be an alternative to the Bahujan Samaj Party, claiming the support of the frozen Jamaat Dalits? Will his support be decisive in the next Lok Sabha election? Will the current phase of his popularity last till the Lok Sabha elections? Will Chandrashekhar be able to bear the brunt of politics? The questions about the politics of Chandrashekhar are numerous. But the answer to all these questions will be revealed gradually, for the moment Chandrashekhar, as in UP says: ‘Bhakal and Jalwa’ are tight.
On Friday, September 14, 2018, at around three o’clock in the morning, Chandrashekhar was released from the district jail of Saharanpur, a day before his order of release went viral on social media.
First and foremost assessment shows that by releasing Chandrasekhar, Bharatiya Janata Party has played the Dalit card. Now there will be a dent in the Dalit vote, which will harm Mayawati’s BSP. The electoral equations will change and Dalits will fall into his court. Chandrasekhar dismissed all these apprehensions in his first statement, saying that he will oppose the BJP in 2019. The Bhima Army also opposed the BJP in the bypoll of the Kairana Lok Sabha. Two assembly constituencies of Kairana Lok Sabha fall in Saharanpur district. This election was won by the Rashtriya Lok Dal on behalf of the coalition.
Opposition to the BJP cannot be said to be unexpected by Chandrasekhar. The Shabbirpur scandal in Saharanpur, after which Chandrashekhar went to jail, happened during the tenure of the present BJP government. Local equations also say that Dalits are not going to gain anything by supporting BJP. Apart from this, the arrests in the Bharat Bandh of April 2, mobilization of the upper castes against the SC / ST Act, are all happening during the tenure of the BJP. If we look at some very local reasons, you will find that many Dalits are still facing unilateral action of the police in the Shabbirpur case. In such a situation, how could he dare to support the BJP.
When Chandrasekhar added blood relation to BSP supremo Mayawati and described her as his aunt and expressed his intention to support the alliance. After this statement, everyone felt that now everything will proceed in the desired direction as expected. But Mayawati rebuffed this relationship in an instant. Not only this, he had earlier also pointed towards the Bhagat of Bhima Army and BJP. A person with political understanding can easily understand that the BSP cannot hand over its political accumulated capital to anyone so easily.
This is an important opportunity for Mayawati and BSP. Mayawati has rejected the Bhima Army just like a respected leader, without giving any consideration to it. Because the catchment area of both the sides is one. So in case of becoming two contenders, the BSP has to suffer a loss, whatever the Bhim Army gains will be a profit.
It is true that Chandrasekhar’s influence is on the nearby Dalit seats including Saharanpur. But its electoral result is yet to be seen. Secondly, this influence of Bhim Army will show its effect in the entire state, it is too early to believe. The BSP’s vote bank is still with him despite all the decline and upheaval. In Uttar Pradesh even before this, all such comets flashed from time to time and then extinguished. In the 2012 assembly elections, Dr. Ayub of Gorakhpur also emerged as the Messiah of Muslims under the banner of Peace Party. But after one election, his attraction was lost.
If the Samajwadi Party is talking about it, they are doing their trick only by seeing the face of BSP. If the BSP has some exasperation, then at the moment the SP cannot even think in the dream. Meaning if the BSP does not like it, then how will the SP take it? Anyway, the SP should claim the Dalit vote with the Bhima Army, this is a ridiculous situation. Akhilesh Yadav has made his position clear by giving a statement that he is also ready to step back two steps to defeat the BJP.
They do not want to annoy Mayawati at any cost.
Now the Congress left. In the situation of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, there is no harm in getting the Bhim Army to support it from anywhere. She has not yet become a part of a possible grand alliance. The Congress has no remaining caste vote bank. There are leaders with mass support at a small level. Where Saharanpur is the base of the Bhima Army, a senior Congress leader Imran Masood comes from there. The same Imran Masood who gave a slanderous statement with sarcasm.
It is said that he has a good relationship with Chandrasekhar. Both also help each other. This nexus can run at the local level. But even if the Congress wants to project Chandrasekhar by making a face in the state, it is not possible because the party does not have local workers. The party is zero at the level of the organization.
According to Dalit thinker Kanwal Bharti who went to jail during the SP rule, the release of Chandrashekhar is a well thought out strategy of BJP to distribute Jatav votes. “See, just as Shivpal Yadav is working to distribute votes, similarly Chandrashekhar has been released before time. If he gets out of jail, he will be highlighted and then Jatav will influence the vote,” says Bharti.
Bharti says, “No Yadav or Dalit caste has its own leadership, except for the Yadavs in the Backwards and the Mayawati among the Jatavs in Uttar Pradesh. All the leaders are in the BJP only. In such a situation, Chandra Shekhar will become a Jatav leader and there will be vote-sharing, which will be the first benefit for the BJP. ”Although Chandrashekhar has made a very clear statement that he had earlier offered in Kairana by-election to contest elections but his aim is to defeat BJP.
What can happen next
If everything goes on smoothly, Chandrashekhar will take time to make his place. For the moment, he has declared the Bhim Army to be non-political. But if their support affects the decision of the electorate, then of course they will become a force. A lot depends on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well. If a non-BJP government comes to the center, then the voice of Chandrashekhar will remain.
By the way, Chandrasekhar met the Maulana Arshad Madni, the Sadar of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind yesterday and pointed to the possible Dalit-Muslim equation. But as was said earlier, any such equation will be limited to Saharanpur and around it. But it is certain that Chandrasekhar will always be a cause of trouble for the BSP.
In a big state like Uttar Pradesh, there is no organization of Bhim Army in large areas like Purvanchal, Awadh, Bundelkhand. It is obviously under an entire political process that takes time. Whether or not he has foresight, leadership ability, etc. within Chandrasekhar is yet to be decided.
The biggest plus point with Chandrasekhar is his young age. Nobody has seen tomorrow. No one knows how the political event will take shape, it is no surprise if a big state like Uttar Pradesh gets divided tomorrow. In such a situation, Chandrashekhar and his Bhima Army will become a strong voice in itself.
Four years ago, the name of Chandrashekhar and his Bhima Army came to the limelight when his photo came in the village Ghudkouli with a board written ‘The Great Chamar’. This board came to be considered a model of Dalit empowerment. The influence of Bhima Army started spreading. The Bhim Army also started doing social work such as running free schools.
On May 5 last year, there was a Dalit and Rajput struggle in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur. One person died in it. Protests against this incident took place on May 9 in which violent incidents took place, vehicles were burnt in arson. Chandrasekhar and others were sued in this. After this incident, BSP chief Mayawati went there to know the situation. After his return, there was violence again in Ambehta Chand and one person died. Chandra Shekhar was roped in on 2 November 2017. He remained in jail for a total of 464 days, of which 317 days were detained at Rasuka. Just 48 days later, Rasuka’s term was being completed. The state government says that this premature release has taken place after considering the representation of Chandrasekhar’s mother.