Making clear its intention of playing the backward caste card in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Samajwadi Party has decided to take up the “social justice” cause of the BCs, including the 17 castes whose case for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes was taken up by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2005.

Two “rath yatras”, dubbed the “adhikar rath yatra” for the 17 BCs and the “samajik nyay rath yatra” for the other backward classes (OBCs), will be jointly flagged off by the Samajwadi Party president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav here on Thursday. The two yatras will continue till December 7 and a social justice rally held in Lucknow on December 14.

Ensuring justice

The party spokesman and Prisons Minister Rajendra Chaudhary told reporters at a press conference that the decision to launch the yatras was taken to ensure justice to the backward and deprived sections of society.

The convener of the rath yatra exercise and Minister of State, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, slammed the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress for not taking up the cause of the backward classes.

He alleged that these parties were not in favour of justice being delivered to the BCs. Mr. Prajapati said the message pertaining to the initiative taken by the Samajwadi Party president for inclusion of the 17 BCs in the SC list would be spread in the villages through the rath yatra.

He said the Mulayam Singh government’s proposal regarding the 17 BCs was annulled by the Mayawati government in 2007.

The SP leaders said that the population of BCs in Uttar Pradesh was around 60 per cent but reservation for them had been limited to 27 per cent. As such the socio-economic condition of the majority of BCs was bad.