In a bid to woo Dalit voters ahead of Assembly elections next year, the central government has unleashed an extensive campaign by Buddhist priests in Uttar Pradesh called 'Dhamma Chakra Yatra'. As part of the campaign, 70 to 80 monks will travel across Uttar Pradesh for six months telling people, mostly Dalits, about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's thoughts on the religion and Dr BR Ambedkar, reported The Times of India. The campaign was inaugurated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Sarnath on April 23, and will be closely monitored by the Prime Minister's Office.
The mission will visit various Buddhist centres covering 70 districts in the state till October 14. They will donate a TV set at every stop with a CD which has an hour-long message on Modi's views on Buddhism and the Dalit icon. Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Arun Singh is closely associated with the campaign. He reportedly held more than eight meetings with organisers before it kicked off.
"The PM suggested a debate on Ambedkar in Parliament, a coin was released commemorating Ambedkar... It must be brought to public knowledge how Modiji has ensured due respect for Dr Ambedkar," Singh told The Times of India. The state's Assembly elections are scheduled for March-April 2017.