In his speech in Khammam, BRS president KCR invoked ‘Bahujan Nayak’ Kanshi Ram while talking about the empowerment of Dalits.

KCR address public at BRS national Party meeting in khammam
news Politics Saturday, January 21, 2023 - 09:40

The first-ever mega meeting by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (popularly known as KCR) after renaming his party from Telangana Rashtra Samithi to 

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS, to have a national appeal) in Khammam earlier this week, grabbed all eyes as KCR invited potential allies– CPI, CPI(M), AAP, and Samajwadi Party – to Telangana, who might aid him in forming a Union government. 

KCR’s speech, where he invoked ‘Bahujan Nayak’ Kanshi Ram while talking about the empowerment of Dalits, has now become a moot point among Dalit-Bahujan circles. 

“Why should Dalit children suffer discrimination? For how many years? That is why the Dalita Bandhu scheme was born here. Following the path of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram, the Dalit community should progress. I am giving a call to the Dalit community of this country… Telangana’s Dalita Bandhu scheme should be implemented across the country by providing assistance to 25 lakh families per year,” KCR said.   

Under the Dalita Bandhu scheme, Dalit families from poor financial backgrounds can claim the assistance of Rs 10 lakh to take up self-employment projects.

Besides implementing Dalita Bandhu, the BRS government erecting a 125-feet statue of Dr BR Ambedkar and naming the newly-built Secretariat after the architect of the Constitution are all being seen as moves to placate Dalits in the state. This has led to the argument that since some communities like Mudirajs and Munnuru Kapus from the Backward Class (BC) seem to lean towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), KCR is trying to woo the Dalits. 

“The common perception is that two communities– Kapus and Mudirajs– within BCs are gravitating towards the BJP. But the BJP has not made a serious impact in influencing Dalits and Adivasis. These are traditional vote banks of the Congress. The strategy of KCR is to strengthen his ties with the BC communities and also strongly capture Dalit votes, ensuring that they do not go to Congress,” said political analyst Balaboina Sudarshan. 

Among the four MPs from BJP in Telangana, Bandi Sanjay, the state unit’s chief, and Dharmapuri Arvind, belong to Munnuru Kapu community. Following the exit of former Minister Eatala Rajender from BRS, it is believed that the Mudirajs have also shifted their loyalties towards the BJP.  The founder of the Dravida Bahujana Samiti, Jilukara Srinivas says that KCR invoking Dr BR Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram is inevitable considering his vision of expanding BRS into a national party. “KCR is not merely focussing on Telangana. He has laid out a strategy to become a national party by playing Bahujan politics. By invoking Ambedkar he will find resonance from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and the name of Kanshi Ram will earn him goodwill from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and other states,” Srinivas said.

Former MLC and well-known political analyst K Nageshwar is not convinced by these theories. Arguing that Kapus form a population of about 54%, while Dalits are estimated to be around 18%, he said,  “Why will he antogonise them? If he is losing the support of the BCs, would he not reach out to them instead of Dalits?” Nageshwar feels that KCR is merely appropriating a popular figure for his politics. “If the Bahujan Samaj Party was strong in Telangana he would not have invoked Kanshiram in the speech,” he added.   

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