Expelled from the BJP for comparing BSP chief Mayawati to a prostitute, Dayashankar Singh and his wife Swati have started addressing public meetings in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, their firepower focused on the BSP.
Officially, the couple maintain they are operating under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, run by Pratapgarh MP Haribansh Singh of the Apna Dal, a BJP ally. They also say they are open to taking support from any “non-political” organisation or group.
But a public meeting addressed by the couple in Hathras on Sunday was attended by a local BJP leader as well as a Samajwadi Party candidate for the upcoming assembly polls. So far, the couple have focused on areas dominated by the Kshatriya caste.
At Sunday’s meeting, Swati, who appears to be taking the lead in the campaign, told people about the “abusive” and “obscene” slogans allegedly raised by BSP leaders against her daughter at a protest held in Lucknow on July 21 to demand Dayashankar’s arrest.
The former BJP leader was subsequently arrested and sent to jail, but granted bail by a court later.
Swati claimed that neither Mayawati nor the Uttar Pradesh police had taken any action against the BSP leaders, including general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who allegedly raised the slogans.
While an FIR was lodged last month against several BSP leaders, including Mayawati and Siddiqui, Swati has been demanding their arrest.
Sunday’s meeting, organised by the Mahasabha, was held in Tikri Khurd village in Hathras district’s Sikandra Rau constituency, which is represented by BSP MLA and former minister Ramveer Upadhyay.
Several Kshatriya community leaders — including the SP candidate from Sikandra Rau Yashpal Singh Chauhan and BJP leader Virendra Singh — attended the meet.
But BJP’s Hathras district president Ramvir Singh said the party had nothing to do with the programme, and that it was organised by people linked to the SP.
SP district president Omwati Yadav, too, said his party was not associated with the event, and that Chauhan had gone because it was a Kshatriya community programme.
At the meeting, Swati exhorted the audience — mostly members of the Kshatriya community — to not vote for the BSP and stand up for “the community’s dignity and respect”. Alleging that the “obscene slogans targeted her 12-year-old daughter”, Swati said that “no one should vote for a party that has no respect for women”.
The couple are slated to address similar programmes in Mainpuri, Ballia, Mau and Agra in the coming weeks. The public meeting in Ballia, Dayashankar’s native place, is scheduled for August 28, the same day Mayawati is slated to address a rally in neighbouring Azamgarh.
Dayashankar said the programmes are not supported by any political party, and that most people come on their own to “show solidarity”.
“It is Swati’s fight. I am a political person but she is just a mother. She has taken up the fight for her daughter and that is why people are supporting her,” he said.
“Swati is fighting to get justice for her daughter. Mayawati has not taken any action against her party’s leaders who shouted abuses against my daughter and sister. Police have not arrested them. When we are not getting justice from anywhere, we can only go to the people’s court,” he said, adding that while the BJP is not linked to his programmes, the party supports the issue of justice for his daughter.
Dayashankar said that while Swati is not a politician, she is ready to contest against Mayawati in case the BSP chief decides to contest from an unreserved seat.
Kshatriya Mahasabha head and Pratapgarh MP Haribansh Singh said the outfit will organise programmes in all districts in the state because the “Kshatriya community has been disrespected”. “There is nothing political about it; members of the community from across political parties are taking part in them,” he said.
Political observers said the campaign is meant to hurt the BSP, mainly in more than two dozen assembly segments where the party has fielded Kshatriya candidates. The backlash against the alleged abusive slogans by her party leaders, perceived by many as “anti-upper caste”, had prompted Mayawati to abandon her party’s plan to continue protests against Dayashankar. She had then announced she would hold ‘Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay’ rallies across the state — seen an attempt to show that her party supports all castes.