BJP’s quick action against party leader Daya Shankar Singh on Wednesday was apparently a bid to protect the Dalit votes that the party had got in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which BSP had failed to win any seat. BJP had won all the 17 reserved seats in 2014 and it does not want to lose that share to BSP in the upcoming 2017 Assembly polls.
This was not first time when a BJP leader has let down the party with his irresponsible comment. From Union Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti to Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, there have been many leaders whose speeches had offensive statements had put the party’s top leadership on a sticky wicket.
“But these leaders had made the remarks against a particular minority community that never vote to BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Hence party never took action against them and completed the formality by condemning their remarks,” said a BJP leader.
The leader added that the party had only issued show cause notice to Sakshi Maharaj in January 2015 when he had urged Hindu women to produce at least four children to protect Hinduism in India. Maharaj had also said that madrasas were making students ‘terrorists’ and ‘Jihadis’ and they encourage Muslim youths to marry Hindu girls.
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Adityanath had had stroked controversy when he said that communal riots happen in the places where a particular minority community constitute 20-40 per cent of the total population. He had also compared Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed and asked him to go Pakistan.
Addressing voters in west Delhi in December 2014, Niranjan Jyoti had told voters, “Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon (those born of Ram) ki bengi ya har**zadon ki. Yeh aapka faisla hai.” The reaction from the opposition to this remark was so strong that Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a diktat to party leaders for speaking out of turn.
But the BJP top leadership did not take action against these senior leaders. However, minutes after Mayawati raised the issue of Daya Shankar’s remarks against her in the Rajya Sabha, the party first removed him from the post of party state vice-president and will likely expel him from the party for six years.
Singh had been associated with BJP for almost 17 years and he had held various posts in BJP’s Yuva Morcha and party state team in the past. “The BJP was already on backfoot in the Parliament on the issue of brutal thrashing of Dalit youths in Gujarat. But that was not going to help BSP much on UP elections. But when Mayawati connected Daya Shankar’s remark with Dalits and women of all castes, this forced BJP to take strong action against Daya Shankar because BJP can not afford to annoy Dalits and when assembly elections are few months closer,” said a BJP leader.
BJP also could not afford to give a message that it does not respect women.
Cashing in the situation, the BSP today is staging a dharna at state capital Lucknow demanding arrest of Daya Shankar. While district administration had not given permission for the dharna in Hazratganj, BSP workers had started assembling at Ambedkar statue in Hazratganj from 7 am. Thousands of BSP workers have assembled there by 10 am.
“We are not going to leave this opportunity to show our ‘power’ when recently two senior leaders Swami Prasad Maurya and RK Chaudhary quit the party. After these leaders quit, both BJP and SP had started calling BSP out of 2017 contest,” said a BSP leader.
A BJP leader said that the way Mayawati raised the issue, it is clear that BSP was going to make it an issue upto district level. “In that situation, Daya Shankar’s remark was going to affect the BJP’s plan to attract Dalit voters. RSS is running a Samrasta Abhiyan to give a message of equal social rights for Dalits. BJP national president Amit Shah in May had taken a holy dip with some Dalit sadhus in the Kshipra river in Ujjain. BJP leaders also took lunch with Dalits with same agenda,” said a BJP leader.