PRAYAGRAJ, April 16 (HS): On Saturday, the Nishad Party will lay the foundation stone for the 180-foot tall statue of Nishadraj, the king of the Nishads, at Nishadraj Fort in Shringverpur, Prayagraj. Workers say that the party is hell-bent on restoring the Nishad king’s lost glory. Nishadraj was Lord Ram’s companion, host, and confidante, according to legend. Sanjay Nishad, the party’s founder and president, said, “The first phase of panchayat elections is over, and people are also free of agricultural work. We are spreading awareness about the event, which will take place on April 17 as planned to commemorate Nishadraj’s birth anniversary. He was four days older than Lord Ram and was born on Chaitra Shukl Panchmi.”
To commemorate the occasion, the Nishad Party has organised a “bullet yatra” (motorcycle rally) and a “padyatra.” The laying of the foundation for Nishadraj’s statue would also signal the launch of the party’s campaign for next year’s state assembly elections. Since 2013, the party has commemorated Nishadraj’s birth anniversary. In January 2013, the Rashtriya Nishad Ekta Parishad was formed in Gorakhpur to bring the Nishad community under a roof. Nishad (Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal) was founded in August 2016 and contested Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017.
Non-Yadav OBCs are catered to by the party, which has a following among those who feel out of place in politics dominated by upper castes, SCs, and Yadavs. Every political party in Uttar Pradesh wants to win over Nishads, indicating that they have become a concentrated chunk of voters. The SP-BSP-RLD alliance wanted Nishad Party as an ally in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but the agreement fell through, and the party aligned with the BJP. Nishads, on the other hand, are angry with the BJP government for failing to keep its commitment to grant the group SC status.
When the Yogi government has already suggested beautification of Nishadraj Fort, installing the statue of Nishadraj is the party’s attempt to come on its own. “Shringverpur’s Nishadraj Fort is in poor condition. Lord Ram was aided by Nishadraj’s army, which helped him defeat the demon king Ravana. Nishads have also been used as a ‘sena’ by political parties. Sanjay Nishad said, “It is past time for the group to withdraw its support from these political parties and become strong on its own.”