Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad (Photo Credit: IANS)
New Delhi :
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad has entered into politics with the launch of his political outfit the Azad Samaj Party on Sunday. Azad, who is popularly known as Ravan, launched the political party on the birth anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram. Before launching his party at an event held in Safai village of Sector-70 in Noida, the 37-year-old leader made Kanshi Ram’s photograph his Twitter profile picture. He also launched the party flag—a white band between two blue strips with Azad Samaj Party written in the middle.
Azad made it clear that his outfit the Bhim Army will run parallel to the Azad Samaj Party and continue to fight for rights of Scheduled Tribe (ST) and enrol new members. A large number of Bhim Army supporters were present during the launch of the political party. According to reports, 28 former MLAs and six ex-MPs also attended the event and even took the oath. However, it was not officially confirmed.
Earlier in the day, Bhim Army members claimed that police have locked the gates of the venue and pasted a notice: “Event cannot be held as large gatherings are prohibited in view of coronavirus”. The gate was, however, opened later.
Azad, who rose to prominence during clashes between Thakurs and Schedule Tribe in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur in May 2017, had filed nomination against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi during the 2019 general elections, but withdrew later.
In December 2019, Azad was arrested by the Delhi police, when violence erupted during an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act march in old quarters of Delhi after his address to protesters from the stairs of Jama Masjid. He was granted bail by a Delhi court in January.
The advocate-turned-politician has been critical of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, “for not doing enough for the Dalits”. Mayawati had earlier termed Azad a “BJP agent” and cautioned her supporters not to “fall prey to his designs”.
The Bhim Army had earlier said that it would contest the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls along with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party as part of a larger alliance—the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha.
With PTI Inputs