The demolition of Sant Ravidas temple in Delhi's Tughlaqabad in August, seems to have struck a chord in the upcoming Haryana assembly polls with almost every political party in the state attempting to capture the sizeable chunk of Dalit votes.
Sources stated that parties, including the Congress, the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) have tried to rake up the demolition of the temple in the national capital.
The parties are desperately trying to woo the Dalit voters as their own vote bank has been seemingly eroded, sources added.
The parties hope that the issue would evoke an emotional response from the community and help them win in the forthcoming polls.
"Why did BJP not remember that the 516 years old Sant Ravidas temple was demolished in Delhi's Tughlakabad under their watchful eyes? How can they forget that 55 of our children are in prison for registering protest against the demolition?," said Dushyant Chautala spearheading the JJP election campaign in the Haryana.
The issue resonated even in the prestigious Tohana seat from where BJP's state president Subhash Barala is contesting the polls.
"From the Bosti village here, four of our children are in prison as they went to protest against the demolition of Sant Ravidas temple. There is great disenchantment against BJP on this issue," stated a leader from BJP's opposition camp.
The 90-member Haryana assembly is scheduled to go to polls on October 21, while the counting of votes is scheduled to begin on October 24.
With about 18 to 20 per cent of the state's population belonging to the Dalit community, all political parties are eyeing this electorally significant vote bank.
In fact, the Congress had just weeks ahead of assembly polls appointed Kumari Selja as Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief.
The BJP, however, has defended the demolition by stating it as a court-mandated exercise which was stopped after BJP intervened and filed an appeal in the court against its direction.
"We have got it stopped and in fact are planning to pay tribute by building a memorial at the premises. It is our government that has built various memorials for Baba Ambedkar. In fact in our mfesto, we have promised to built memorial like places for Dalit icons like Sant Kabir Das. Other parties did not do anything and now they are blaming us solely for political gains," said a senior BJP leader.
( With inputs from ANI )