Ram’s Blessings and People’s Support Helped Me Win, Says DalitLeader Who Stunned BJP in Ayodhya

Ram’s Blessings and People’s Support Helped Me Win, Says DalitLeader Who Stunned BJP in Ayodhya

RK Talent Show 2024

Ayodhya: One of the major upsets for the BJP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls came
from Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad constituency, which includes the temple city of Ayodhya. SP
veteran Awadhesh Prasad wrested the seat from the ruling party, defeating two-time BJP
lawmaker Lallu Singh by a margin of 54,567 votes on Tuesday.

Prasad, a prominent Dalit leader and nine-time legislator, was fielded from this non-reserved
seat as part of the Akhilesh Yadav-led party’s new caste calculus. This strategy is largely
credited for the SP’s impressive performance in the general elections, where they won 37 of the
80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Here are excerpts from Prasad’s conversation with HT on the
shift in the political dynamics of the region:

Question: After the inauguration of the Ram temple, the BJP seemed unbeatable. How was the
saffron party defeated in this Hindutva epicenter of Ayodhya?

Awadhesh Prasad: The BJP tried to take credit for the Ram temple, which was built on the
order of the Supreme Court. They unsuccessfully attempted to derive political mileage from the
temple issue to divert people’s attention from fundamental issues like unemployment, poverty,
inflation, farmers’ issues, and the stray cattle menace. I was not contesting against the BJP; it
was the people who were fighting against the BJP. During the poll campaign over the last two
months, I never saw such support and affection from people.

Question: In the previous parliamentary election, the SP was defeated by around 65,000 votes.
How did you manage to cover this gap and add 55,000 more votes in a constituency where the
BJP was riding on the Ram temple chariot?

Awadhesh Prasad: We received maximum support from our Dalit brothers who were the real
sufferers of BJP’s policies that gave rise to inflation, unemployment, and poverty. These people
had voted for the BJP in the last elections. Along with the Dalit community, we had strong
support among the backward classes, OBCs, and minorities. We also got full support from
farmers, irrespective of caste and religion, as they were fed up with the problem of stray cattle.

Question: You challenged the BJP in the saffron bastion and, despite being a Dalit, you
contested from a general seat. What was your strategy?

Awadhesh Prasad: My grandfather Ram Nawal, my father Dukhi Ram, my brother Ram
Awadh, my maternal uncle Parshuram, and my father-in-law Ram Sevak all have ‘Ram’ in their names. The name of Shri Ram was closely associated with my family and ancestors. We
consider ourselves fortunate to have been born in Ayodhya. I had no strategy; this victory
became possible only due to the blessings of Lord Ram and Hanumanji and the support of the
people. I was confident that these three powers would help me secure victory.

Question: The NDA aimed for 400-plus seats in the Lok Sabha elections, but it was defeated in
Uttar Pradesh. How did this happen?

Awadhesh Prasad: Due to the insensitivity of the BJP government, seven crore unemployed
people crossed the age limit for jobs. At least 60 lakh candidates prepared for the police
recruitment exam and their future is uncertain after the paper leak. People sought revenge from
the BJP.

Question: You are a leader from the time of great socialist leaders like Lohia, Madhu Limaye,
Raj Narain, Jai Prakash Narayan, and Chandra Shekhar. How do you compare Akhilesh Yadav
with these leaders?

Awadhesh Prasad: Un mahaan Samajwadi netaon ke khwabon ki tabeer hain Akhilesh Yadav
(Akhilesh Yadav is the living reality of the dreams of great socialist leaders). He’s the only one
who can provide a democratic and secular government in the state and the country.

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