Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), led by Prakash Ambedkar, which has only one legislator in Maharashtra, has decided to contest 40 seats in the upcoming Punjab assembly polls.
The party has no presence outside Akola and Washim district in Vidarbha region of the state.
Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, father of the Indian constitution.
“In Punjab, Dalit community is prevalent in almost each assembly constituency and are 32% of the total population. To rope in these voters, BBM has decided to contest 40 seats out of total 117 seats,” Ambedkar said.
“The Republican Party of India (RPI) has no presence in Punjab. Earlier, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party had a hold in a few pockets, but has lost supporters in the last few years. Which is why I think that BBM has strong chances of opening its account in the state,” he added.
A team of 40 retired bureaucrats from the Punjab cadre will do the leg work for Ambedkar in Punjab.
“Today, I held a meeting of these retired IAS officers who had expressed their desire to join politics directly or indirectly. They will handle rallies and campaign in the state in our support,” Ambedkar, who is on a tour of Punjab from the last Wednesday said and added that the process to select candidates will begin very soon.
BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance is currently in power in Punjab.
A party leader said that Aam Aadami Party has expressed its desire to tie up with the BBM for the assembly polls. However Ambedkar said he has not received any official communication from AAP as yet. BBM’s lone legislator Baliram Siraskar won the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls from Akola constituency.
The party has a complete hold over Akola Zilla Parishad, and 5 Panchayat Samitis from the same district. Party’s Nafisa Shaikh won president’s post of Buldhana Municipal Council in recently concluded civic polls.
Punjab government’s Assembly tenure will end in March 2017.