A day after BJP expelled the party’s Uttar Pradesh women’s wing president Madhu Mishra for six years for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Dalits, all people associated with the event organised by a Brahmin’s organisation, at which she is said to have made the comments, are trying to rally behind her.
While Mishra herself denies making any such remarks, alleging that the audio clips that went viral on social media were tampered with, the organisers, and even the leader from rival Samajwadi Party (SP), who is a member of the organising committee, on Tuesday said the episode should not be turned into a big “issue”.
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“I am an educated woman. I cannot make such remark against any caste or community,” said Mishra, who has received her PhD in Hindi from Kanpur University. Calling it a “propaganda” by political rivals, she said, “The audio recording has been tampered (with).” She also claimed that her speech was not meant for hurting the sentiments of any caste or community.
Local SP leader Ratnakar Pandey, one of the organisers of Sunday’s ‘Brahmin Mahasammelan’ in Aligarh, said, “After her speech, Madhu Mishra had sought an apology from the gathering…if her any statement had hurt the sentiments of any caste. I believe there should be no issue after her public apology.”
In an apparent bid to defend Mishra by indicating there had been no objection from others present, Sharma pointed out that the gathering of more than 2,000 people included leaders from across the political spectrum — the SP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Congress, and RLD. While former state power minister and senior BSP leader Ramveer Upadhyay was the chief guest along with BJP’s Aligarh MP Satish Gautam, local mayor Shakuntala Bharti (of BJP), Congress leader Giriwar Sharma and SP’s Pandey were also present, Sharma said.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai had expelled Mishra on Monday for six years after the audio clip of her speech, which had gone viral on social media, was circulated among senior party leaders.
In the audio, Mishra could be heard purportedly saying, “Aaj tumhare sar par baithkar, samvidhan ke sahaare jo raaj kar rahe hain, yaad karo, woh kabhi tumhare joote saaf karte they, aaj tumhare huzoor ho gayen hain. Kyun? Hum bant gaye hain, hum vibhajit ho gaye hain. (Recall that those who are ruling over you with the help of the Constitution now were the same people who used to polish your shoes once. Now they are your masters. This is because we [Brahmins] stand divided).”
She had allegedly also said party MP Gautam, also a Brahmin, is “fighting to secure your rights because he can imagine your children could become slaves once again after 40 years…. Wake up and fight for your rights like Satish Gautam.”
On Tuesday, Gautam claimed that Mishra did not make any such remark in his presence.
Born in Etawah, Mishra calls herself “Etawah ki Beti” (daughter of Etawah) at rallies in an apparent attempt to challenge SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s hold over his native district.
She also claims to have taken part in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and says she was arrested with other kar sevaks in ‘91, when she was 24. Post-arrest, she was apparently taken to Fatehgarh jail, where her husband Ramesh Chandra Mishra was the jailor.
“I had refused to lodge them in my jail because I did not want to get into any controversy because Madhu was my wife, and the others arrested were her co-workers,” said Ramesh Mishra, who retired as Jail Superintendent of Aligarh prison in December 2015.
Mishra and her fellow kar sevaks were reportedly shifted to Shajahanpur jail; she was released a month later.
Major Sunil Dutt Dwivedi (retd), son of former minister in BJP government Prabha Dwivedi and slain BJP leader and former state minister Brahm Dutt Dwivedi, said his father had initiated Mishra into politics, and she has since been a close family friend. Brahm Dutt was murdered in 1997. Major Dwivedi contested and lost the Assembly elections from Farrukhabad constituency in 2012 as a BJP candidate.
Mishra herself is yet to contest an election in her 30-year political career. She has been the BJP women’s wing president of Farrukhabad Nagar, its Braj region president, and the state Mahila Morcha president in two stints — from 2009 to 2012, and again last year before being expelled on Monday.
Nearly 140 elected Zila Panchayat members, block development committee members and village pradhans — all Brahmins — were reportedly felicitated at Sunday’s event.