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Decoding Chandra Shekhar Azad's politics: Why is he seen as Mayawati's replacement in UP

Chandra Shekhar Azad's political career does have some matching characteristics with Mayawati yet his organisation is not as deeply rooted as that of Mayawati's and he did not get a mentor like Kanshi Ram. However, he is slowly occupying Mayawati's political space in UP.

Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: June 29, 2023 15:54 IST
Azad's political career revolves around Dalit's cause
Image Source : PTI Azad's political career revolves around Dalit's cause

Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad is in the news sadly for the wrong reason. One of the prominent Dalit leaders of Uttar Pradesh and Azad Samaj Party president escaped an assassination attempt on Wednesday as a group of armed men attacked him when he was returning from Deoband, Saharanpur. Azad suffered a bullet injury, however, he is out of danger now. Opposition leaders- Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Singh, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin criticised BJP government in UP over the attack on Azad. Azad (36) had gone to attend a 'terhavin' ritual at a supporter's home in Saharanpur district's Deoband. The assailants fired "four shots" at his SUV when he was leaving. 

India Tv - Azad's political career is slowly but steadily growing

Image Source : PTIAzad's political career is slowly but steadily growing

Azad is one of the youngest Dalit leaders in the country, who is often seen whenever and wherever Dalit or minority (Muslim) related issues cropped up. He often holds protests raising issues related to people from Dalit community. Several people see him as a resemble of UP's heavyweight Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Mayawati. For some unknown reason, Mayawati has reportedly gone dormant since BJP saw an unprecedented rise in Uttar Pradesh. She has lost her influence over the Dalit community. At least her party's performances in the last few elections suggest so. The vacant place provided a political launching pad to Azad. The Bhim Army chief hit more headlines than Mayawati in the last few years. Though, one can relate his aggressive and fearless politics to Mayawati of the 1990s. Azad reaches everywhere, where any exploitation of Dalits or crime against backward caste communities is reported. On the contrary, Mayawati rarely goes out of Lucknow or is seen with common men in the last few years. By and large, her politics reportedly remained on Twitter and in press releases. So, it would not be imprudent to say that her political career and that of Azad's go inverse proportion. People see a bright political future in Azad, whereas Mayawati is facing a political downtrend.

Anti-BJP face in UP

Azad, who founded the Bhim Army in 2014 to work for the upliftment of Dalits, recently met former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and reportedly discussed upcoming elections. This was one of his first meetings with Yadav. This development shows his political stature. He took on biggies in the elections but did not get desirable results. Azad contested against UP CM Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur (urban) seat in 2022 but, lost the poll battle with a huge margin. Azad got just 7,543 votes, while Yogi bagged over 1.64 lakh votes in his stronghold. However, his boldness against BJP is liked by other big Opposition leaders. In the upcoming Lok Sabha 2024 elections, he can be seen as a poster boy for the united Opposition front to woo Dalit voters. He did field his candidates in Delhi's MCD elections after allying with Asaduddin Owaisi's party AIMIM but failed to make any mark. 

India Tv - Azad electorally did not make any significant mark

Image Source : PTIAzad electorally did not make any significant mark

Controversies around Azad
While his bold approach adds popularity to his personality, in some incidents, he landed in legal trouble as well. Azad was named as the main accused in the Saharanpur violence incident in 2017 and was later arrested under the National Security Act (NSA). During anti-CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) protests in Delhi, he planned to hold a protest march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar but police detained him. 

In Indian politics, a leader grows only when he dons a cap of an activist for a cause. In that case, Azad owns materials that may help him to rise further on the horizon of Indian politics.

Also read- 'We will continue our fight...': Chandra Shekhar Aazad's message for his supporters after being attacked 


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