Political pygmies to dare stalwarts in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow: Chandra Shekhar Azad and Amit Jani are relatively unknown enti­ties in Uttar Pradesh politics. They have hit the headlines occasion­ally with their fledgling outfits but now they are ready to make news with their electoral debuts.  Chandra Shekhar Azad who heads the Bhim Army, a Dalit outfit, is contesting elections against PM Modi from Varanasi.  Amit Jani, who heads the Nav Nirman Sena, has announced he will contest against Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav from Azamgarh.

Chandra Shekhar became famous in 2017 when his name came up in the Thakur-Dalit caste riots in Saharanpur. He heads the Bhim Army, which started out as an organisation providing primary schooling to Dalit kids but has grown into a political force in western UP. Chandra Shekhar spent a year in jail where he was book­ed under the National Security Act and his fame seems to have risen with his stint behind the bars. When he was recently hospitalised after being arrested for alleged viola­tion of prohibitory orders, Cong general secy in charge of Eastern UP Priyanka Gandhi visited him in a Meerut hospital, which pointed to his growing political clout.

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