After writing a letter to PM Modi complaining about the UP CM and BJP general secretary Sunil Bansal, Kharwar says Dalit leaders and the public are angry with the party.
New Delhi: After writing a letter to the Prime Minister complaining about what he termed Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath’s “casteist mindset”, Dalit leader and BJP MP from Robertsganj, Chhote Lal Kharwar, has warned that the community could desert the party en masse if it continues down this path.
Kharwar feels the CM — a Thakur — is mistreating Dalits in the party as well as across the state. The MP’s anger was also directed at the party’s general secretary (organisation) for UP, Sunil Bansal.
“Agar BJP ko apni seat bachaani hai to sab ko badal dena chahiye. Dalit bahut naaraaz hain – leader bhi aur log bhi. (If BJP wants to retain its seats, it should change the whole leadership, as Dalit leaders and people are upset with the state BJP),” Kharwar said.
Kharwar himself believes the Dalit community may soon break away from the BJP after supporting it in the 2014 general and 2017 UP assembly elections, if the “casteist attitude” continues.
“Daliton ke saath aisa ho raha hai humari party mein… Hum Dalit hain isliye suna nahin jata. Poori organisation humare khilaaf kaam karti hai. (Dalits are being discriminated against in the party. Our voice isn’t heard because we are Dalits. The whole organisation is working against us,” he said.
He said the BJP could face a fate similar to the Samajwadi Party.
“SP ki tarah 5 seat par simat kar reh jayegi (It will be limited to five seats, like the Samajwadi Party),” Kharwar warned about the current scenario.
Meeting with deputy CM
So anguished is Kharwar that on a visit to Lucknow Thursday, he didn’t even seek to meet the CM. Instead, he interacted with deputy CM and OBC leader Keshav Prasad Maurya, discussing some constituency issues as well as the issue of Dalit discrimination in the party.
“He listens to us,” Kharwar said of Maurya.
In contrast, Kharwar said he went to meet Yogi twice on issue of BJP workers going against his brother, the BJP candidate for a block president election, and working for the SP candidate who is allegedly a land shark.
“Bole humein complaint mil gayi hai, jaiye aap yahan se… Maine phir kaha galat ho raha hai, bole hum dekh lenge (He said ‘we have received your complaint, you should leave’. I repeated that wrong things were happening, and he said ‘we’ll see’),” said the Lok Sabha MP.
Asked about his meeting with Bansal, Kharwar said: “He told me that the report he got from the area was not in my favour. ‘Aapke yahan maahaul kharaab hai (the atmosphere is negative)’ he said,” Kharwar recalled. He told Bansal that officials’ reports were biased, and that the leadership was being misled by the officials in the state.
“UP ko to adhikaari chala rahe hain (officials are running UP),” the MP alleged.
Significance of Kharwar’s ‘revolt’
Senior leaders in the party believe that the complaint is very significant, coming as it does on the heels of the pan-India Dalit agitation against the Supreme Court’s move to ‘dilute’ the SC/ST Act, for which the BJP government has also copped flak.
The letter signifies that Yogi is coming under pressure on his home turf, opening up scope for more mutinies within the party, given that the BJP lost the Lok Sabha bypoll in his backyard of Gorakhpur.
Kharwar said he had received a letter from the PM acknowledging his complaint.
“I trust Modi ji completely. He will take action, as he is the messiah of the poor and the downtrodden. It is the state leadership that is acting on a casteist agenda,” he said.