Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad ‘Ravan’ has announced that he will contest against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath in the upcoming assembly polls, NDTV reported.
Talking on the matter, Chandra Shekhar 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.”
However, it’s not yet clear from which assembly segment Adityanath will contest. Currently he is a member of the legislative council, but not of the legislative assembly.
Azad further said that his party would field Dalits, Muslims or backward caste candidates wherever it can, provided his Azad Samaj Party contests the polls on its own.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Aazad had announced that he would run as a candidate from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Later on he withdrew the proposal, and supported Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) instead, which contested that polls together.
Aazad said, “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. This time, however, I have a party of my own, Azad Samaj Party.”
On being asked as to whether he would reach out to BSP and SP to support his candidature against Yogi Adityanath, he replied, “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.”
During the 2017 clashes between Dalits and Thakurs in Saharanpur, Aazad and his Bhim Army emerged on the national scene. In the aftermath of clashes, Aazad was arrested. Although he was granted bail by the Allahabad high court. Later he was arrested under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) and spent 16 months in jail before being released in September 2018.