Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Sunday launched his political party – the Azad Samaj Party – reported PTI. The launch coincided with the 86th birth anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party founder and Dalit leader Kanshi Ram.

After the announcement of his party, Azad tweeted, “Sahab Kanshi Ram tera mission adhoora, Azad Samaj Party karegi poora [The incomplete mission of Kanshi Ram will be completed by Azad Samaj Party].” The party flag is a white band between two blue strips, with Azad Samaj Party written in the middle.

The Bhim Army will run parallel to the party and continue to fight for Dalit rights and enrol new members, said Azad. “We are not here to be servants, we are here to rule the country,” declared Azad at the launch of the party, according to The Hindu. “We will start with Bihar Assembly elections and Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls to be held later this year.”

Earlier this month, Azad said he will launch his own political outfit on March 15 when he met Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party President Om Prakash Rajbhar to discuss the possibility of a new anti-Bharatiya Janata Party front in Uttar Pradesh before the 2022 Assembly elections.

The Bhim Army chief had said that BSP President Mayawati cannot win elections on her own. “She has been working for a long time,” he had said. “And this is why we are here to help us in the movement. In politics, no one is an enemy for a long time, and with her blessings, we can settle ourselves in power.”The BJP and its allies had won 325 out of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 elections, leaving Mayawati’s party a poor third at 19 seats.

Azad has been in the news for leading protests against the Citizen Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens since December.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, offers a fast track to citizenship for non-Muslim undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.

The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish undocumented migrants from genuine Indian citizens. Critics of the CAA, NPR and NRC fear that the amended act along with the citizens’ register could be combined to disenfranchise millions of Muslims.

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