Neelam Sonkar : Emerging Dalit Leader of BJP

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Chandrajeet Kumar is Head-Design & Graphics who occasionally experiments with his writing skills

Fortune seems to be gripping Neelam Sonkar, the BJP MP from Lalganj (Reserved) constituency in Uttar Pradesh. After stunning victory of the party in the recently held assembly polls in the state, she is being projected by party bigwigs as the Dalit face of the party. And if things run smooth she may be appointed the Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

Her rise in the politics has been phenomenal and even she herself was not sure to see the corridors of the Parliament so early. The sweet tongued politician had lost election of Zila Panchayat Chief on BSP support in Azamgarh before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

PM Modi’s canvassing for Sonkar in 2014 had made history for the BJP, which had not won this Lok Sabha constituency before. The party leadership made the parliamentary elections in the state so trivial that it fielded the rejected ones from the SP and the BSP. Sonkar was among them but with a difference. A postgraduate from Sonkar community, she had a personality that appealed and with due mentorship from political stalwarts she made it to the Lok Sabha.

Now with elevation of Adityanath Yogi as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, political circles are abuzz with the news that she may be given new responsibility as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). The post is currently lying vacant after the completion of term of Mr P L Punia last year. Sonkar has made a good rapport with Yogi, who political source say has guided her on many occasions and under present circumstances there is no other Dalit leader in the BJP, particularly in Uttar Pradesh who could match the integrity and commitment of Sonkar for the Dalits. Her elevation to the post of Chairperson of the NCSC will also dilute the impact of Dalit leader like Mayawati of the BSP further in the state, political pundits say.

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