The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani gambit to woo Dalits

Bhopal, April 22: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s presence at Mhow on Friday is being considered the BJP’s attempt to consolidate the Dalit votebank.

It is also being regarded as the party’s attempt to hasten “social engineering” in Madhya Pradesh, a state that has often seen caste violence and discrimination.

Advani will inaugurate the BJP’s Dalit Declaration meet on Friday to counter the Digvijay Singh government’s “first of its kind” Bhopal Declaration, popularly called the Dalit Agenda.

The agenda, aimed at empowering weaker sections of society, has won the appreciation of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and former President K.R. Narayanan for being innovative.

The BJP, however, considers the agenda a “publicity stunt” of the state’s Congress government. So it wants to offer a “real alternative” for the development and uplift of Dalits.

According to BJP leaders, the Mhow Declaration would be “historic” as it would serve as the guiding principle for the party’s election manifesto.

A team of party functionaries Ramnath Govid, Govindram Miri, T.A.N. Chelliah and Thawarchand Gehlot has been set up to prepare a blueprint for the declaration.

The blueprint will be discussed and debated before the BJP’s district presidents from across the country.

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