Breakaway group claims people were not connecting to the idea of IITians running a caste-based party.
New Delhi: A political party launched by a group of IITians for the upliftment of Dalits has split within months of its birth.
In April, ThePrint reported that the Bahujan Azad Party (BAP) was expected to make its electoral debut in the Bihar assembly elections in 2020.
But soon after it was launched, and even before the Election Commission of India could allot it a symbol, the party has split, because the idea of IITians working only on caste lines has not gone down well with many.
The breakaway faction is now planning to come up with its own party, named Jan Samarpit Party (JSP). Vikram Vatsal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi and leader of the breakaway faction, claims support of others from his own alma mater as well as IIT Banaras Hindu University and National Institutes of Technology.
“BAP was focussing only on working for the rights of SCs, STs and OBCs, which is the reason that many people in Bihar were not associating with them,” Vatsal told ThePrint. “People do not expect IITians to work only on caste lines, they expect much more from us.
“If the idea is to do caste-based politics, there are many others. Why should the public chose people like us?”
Speaking about his plans for the new party, Vatsal said: “The main focus will be job creation and how we can retain the talented youth in Bihar by bringing in more corporates and business houses to invest in the state.
“We are already in touch with a number of corporates and people who want invest in setting up ventures. What is the point of being IIT alumni if we are not able to improve the job status of the state?
Initially, Vatsal said, the JSP will be based out of only Bihar and later move to other parts of the country.
BAP has bigger plans
Naveen Kumar, the founder of BAP, has called the split the result of an “ideological clash”, but is undeterred.
“People have left us but that does not stop us from going ahead in our mission,” said Kumar, also an IIT Delhi alumnus.
What has changed, however, is the party’s plan for its electoral debut. Kumar said the BAP plans to contest the 2019 general elections, and will “announce this from Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in November”.
The party plans to contest the polls on more than 500 seats.
“We are only waiting to get an official party symbol before we go ahead and announce our plans for next year. Once that happens, we will go full throttle with our preparations,” Kumar said.
He also claimed that some leaders from the Bihar-based Rashtriya Janata Dal will join them.
“Major Raj Kumar, who was part of the RJD, is now leaving the party and joining us. We are in talks with other people from the RJD too,” he added.