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In Dalit outreach mode, BJP to hold national executive at Delhi’s Ambedkar centre

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Party also set to discuss ways to court Dalits; latest meeting expected to be last before 2019 polls.

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to host its national executive meeting, scheduled for August 18-19, at the Ambedkar International Centre, the swanky new convention centre named after the Dalit icon in New Delhi.

Highly placed sources told ThePrint that the main agenda at the meeting will be discussions on Dalit outreach initiatives.

They added that the selection of the venue is a very deliberate attempt to send out the message that the party acknowledges the contributions of Dalit icons and cares about them. It is also an attempt to counter the belief that it is an upper caste party.

Also read: By ignoring OBCs for party positions, BJP would repeat Congress’ fatal mistake

“This is also an attempt to show that the earlier governments have not given due credit to visionary leader and Dalit icon Ambedkar, who played a vital role in the framing of the Indian Constitution,” said a source.

The BJP has been working overtime to win over the influential Dalit vote across the country. With a population of 16.6 per cent as per 2011 census, Dalits are considered to be a powerful bloc of voters.

‘May be the last national executive before 2019’

Party sources said the meeting is expected to be the BJP’s last national executive before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

As such, this national executive, where important BJP leaders from all states are expected to attend, is expected to finalise the party’s strategy for the upcoming assembly polls, apart from next year’s general elections.

Sources said it could be here that the state leaders will be told about the party’s strategy to pitch for simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls. ThePrint was first to report that BJP is pitching for dual elections, at least in the states where it is in power.

Also read: How Narendra Modi is playing with history to co-opt Ambedkar again

The BJP usually holds its national executive meetings once every three months but the latest one was delayed as party chief Amit Shah was on nation-wide tour to review the operations and functioning of the organisation.

In 2017, the BJP national executive was held at Odisha in April followed by an extended national executive at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi in September.

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  1. Caste system is both a historical truth and a modern reality no matter how much we defend our position that ‘India has changed for the better’. Dalits have always been at the bottom of the Hindu caste system and despite laws to protect them; they still face widespread discrimination in India. The basic tenets promised in the preamble of our constitution are not available to all despite the fact that we are a democratic republic. The instances of oppression of Dalits can be witnessed in every sphere of life, be it in social circumference, in educational institutions, in the jobs, or even on the political front.

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