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New Delhi: Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad ‘Ravan’ has announced that he will go head to head against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath in the upcoming assembly elections in the state, according to NDTV.
It is not clear yet from which assembly segment Adityanath will contest. At present, he is a member of the legislative council, but not of the legislative assembly.
Speaking on the matter, Aazad said, “It is not important for me to win a place in the UP assembly. It is important for me that Yogi Adityanath should not get to be in the assembly. So I will contest wherever he is contesting.”
He further said that his party would field Dalits, Muslims or backward caste candidates wherever it can, provided his Azad Samaj Party contests the election on its own.
It may be recalled that Aazad, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, had announced that he would run as a candidate from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he withdrew the proposal later and instead supported Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), which contested that election together.
“I decided to contest against the PM but did not as I had no party at the time. Mayawati (chief of Bahujan Samaj Party) told me it was best that I support her candidate instead of dividing opposition votes,” he explained, adding that this time, however, he has a party of his own, Azad Samaj Party.
On being asked as to whether he would reach out to BSP and SP to support his candidature against Adityanath, he said, “I have to stop the BJP. And for that I want to stop their chief minister candidate. Either behenji (Mayawati) should fight him or she should let me. I am strong and I can take on Yogi Adityanath. People know that I am tikau, not bikau (I will stay, my support can’t be bought) and I won’t run away.”
Aazad and his Bhim Army emerged on the national scene in 2017 during the clashes between Dalits and Thakurs in Saharanpur. In the aftermath of clashes, Aazad was arrested. Although the Allahabad high court had granted him bail, he was later arrested under the stringent National Security Act (NSA). He spent 16 months in jail before being released in September 2018.