A day after he asked his party workers to induct Yadav and Jatav voters into the party to increase its community base, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday had lunch at the residence of Sonu Yadav, party chief of Badi Jugauli polling booth, an area in Lucknow Central dominated by Yadavs. While in the past Shah had dined with Dalits during his tours to different states, this was the first time that his host was a Yadav OBC worker.
State Law Minister Brijesh Pathak, who is the local MLA, however, denied any political angle in the decision to dine with a Yadav family. “He (Sonu Yadav) is a dedicated party worker associated with the BJP for a long time. The party national president has said that people from all communities are welcome in the BJP.”
On Sunday afternoon, Shah and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who also joined him for lunch at Yadav’s home, drove through the narrow lanes of Badi Jugauli area to reach Yadav’s double-storey and well-furnished house. Just opposite Sonu Yadav’s house was a plaque stating that the road that Shah and Adityanath took was developed by Samajwadi Party chief and former CM Akhilesh Yadav.
Inside the house, preparations were still on to welcome the guests, which also included deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, party national vice-president Om Prakash Mathur, national general secretaries Arun Singh and Anil Jain and joint general secretary (organisation) Shiv Prakash.
Sonu Yadav, 33, said he got word of the leaders’ plans only on Sunday morning. Another party office bearer, however, said he was informed Saturday night. Either way, the whole Yadav family was engaged in preparations, so much so that a source said they couldn’t dine with the dignitaries themselves.
“My mother and wife cooked dal, sabji, raita, roti and rice for the guests,” Yadav said. Chhach was also served.
Sitting on the ground, Yadav served food in wooden disposal plates and kulhad to the guests.
Shah also spoke to Yadav about his family, met them and even obliged with requests for a photograph. The dignitaries stayed there for nearly 40 minutes.
Yadav said that he has been with the BJP for 14 years. He said that there are around 1,250 voters in Badi Jugauli polling booth and nearly 800 of them are Yadavs.
The Yadav community is considered a strong vote base of the Samajwadi Party, which has been reduced to just 47 seats in the 403 seat-strong Assembly.
“Now when the SP is weak, this is the ideal time to attract Yadav voters and convince them that the BJP is the party for every section of the society,” said a BJP leader.