In an apparent bid to widen its electoral base, the Samajwadi Party on Saturday decided to set up ''Babasaheb Vahini'', a party affiliated outfit after Dalit icon Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar's name.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav announced the decision to form the outfit on the occasion of Dr Ambedkar's birth anniversary on April 14 in a tweet, saying it will have units at the levels of the country, various states and their districts.
"In order to keep the thoughts and ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar active, remove the disparity and injustice and move towards an equitable social justice, we pledge to form ''Babasaheb Vahini'' on the birth anniversary of Ambedkar (April 14)," the SP chief said in a tweet in Hindi.
The outfit "will work in the districts, states and the country", he added.
Two days ago, Akhilesh Yadav had urged people to observe "Dalit Diwali", saying, "In the dark (Amavasya) period of BJP's politics, the Constitution, which gave a new light to independent India, is in danger."
"Hence, the SP will celebrate the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar as ''Dalit Diwali'' in Uttar Pradesh, the country and abroad," he had added.
Speaking to reporters at the party headquarters here and responding to a question on ''Dalit Diwali'', Akhilesh Yadav said, "What's there in a name? The name can be anything -- Ambedkar Diwali, ''Samvidhan Diwali or Samta Diwas are some of the names."
"Ram Manohar Lohia and Babasaheb Ambedkar had pledged to work together. And, if the Samajwadi Party are embracing the followers of Ambedkar, why should the BJP and Congress have problems?" he asked.
The SP chief also asked if the BJP and Congress will not light a lamp on this occasion.
The former UP chief minister also hit out at the UP government over the alleged Covid-19 mismanagement.
"A number of people in the state are facing hardships. We are getting information that the Covid-19 pandemic has once again aggravated," he said.
"It has put us in such a spot. How do come out of it? We have not seen before such bad days filled with hardships. It is the poor are in the maximum distress," he added.
"The poor are facing problems of jobs and employment and those who are to make arrangements for it have moved to other states as star campaigners to speak lies," he said.
He also alleged that there are no medicines in UP hospitals and new patients cannot be admitted to hospitals.
He expressed concern over the fact that people are catching infection even after getting both shots of the vaccine.
"If people from prestigious medical institutes are falling ill, who will give treatment to the common people?" he asked, referring to several doctors of Lucknow's KGMU testing positive for the infection.
He also took a dig at the UP government over rabies vaccine instead of those against Covid-19 having been administered to three women in the state.
Asked about the West Bengal assembly elections, Mr Yadav said Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will retain power.