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Yogi minister Dinesh Khatik ‘quits’, claims bias against Dalits, graft in transfers

In a resignation letter that went public earlier in the day, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti complained of being ignored by officials and facing discrimination because he was a Dalit, and alleged corruption in transfers.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow/meerut |
Updated: July 21, 2022 12:59:43 am
Dinesh Khatik is Minister of State for Jalshakti in the Yogi Adityanath government. (Twitter/@MLADineshKhatik)

LESS THAN a month after Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brijesh Pathak complained of anomalies in transfers in his Health portfolio, colleague Dinesh Khatik sent his resignation to the Governor on Wednesday purportedly over the same reason.

In a resignation letter that went public earlier in the day, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti complained of being ignored by officials and facing discrimination because he was a Dalit, and alleged corruption in transfers.

While sources in the Raj Bhavan said they had received the letter, there was no confirmation from the government on the resignation.

Reports that Khatik was set to quit surfaced Wednesday morning when his letter, addressed to Union minister Amit Shah, went viral, in which he also complained of not being assigned any work, and said there was no place for a minister from the “Dalit samaj” and that he had failed to work for “Dalit society”.

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The resignation came a day after another UP minister, Jitin Prasada, found himself under a cloud after officials in his PWD portfolio faced action for allegedly accepting bribes for transfers.

Before Khatik’s letter reached the Governor in the evening, sources in the government denied he had resigned, and suggested it was a ploy, like earlier ones by Khatik. Asked about the same by the media in Meerut, the minister himself said, “Aisa koi vishay nahin hai (There is no such issue)”, without clarifying.

On Tuesday night, Khatik had left Lucknow suddenly, without his staff and security protocol, giving the first signal that something was amiss. Government sources then tried to douse the rumours saying Khatik was usually more active in his constituency than in Lucknow, and regularly held Janata Darbars there.

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Last month too, Khatik had made a similar, impromptu departure from Lucknow, after one of his party workers faced an FIR. Khatik had gone to Ganganagar Police Station of Meerut and warned policemen there that he would sit on protest unless they registered an FIR against two constables allegedly involved in beating up one of his workers. When the FIR was lodged, but along with a cross-FIR against his worker, Khatik had left in a huff for Meerut. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had then visited him to placate him.

Khatik was first inducted in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet in September 2021, just before the Assembly polls. It was an acknowledgement of his value as a “man of the cadre”, and as a prominent Dalit face from Western UP, as he was just a first-time MLA then. When he won from Hastinapur and returned to the Assembly, Khatik was again made Minister of State.

In the purported resignation letter which is in the public domain, Khatik writes: “Main ek Dalit jaati ka mantri hoon, isliye is vibhag mein mere saath bahut bhedhbhav kiya ja raha hai (I am a minister from the Dalit caste, and that is why, there is much discrimination against me in this department).”

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Khatik says that his orders too were not enforced in the Jal Shakti Department as he was a Dalit. Claiming “lot of corruption” during recent transfers of officials, he said this was against the “zero tolerance” policy of CM Adityanath. He said that on July 9, he had sought details of these transfers, but even these had not been shared with him, specifically mentioning the head of the Irrigation Department. He wrote that when he tried to inform the Principal Secretary, Irrigation, about this, he cut his phone.

Yeh ek jan pratinidhi ka bahut bada apman hai… Mujhe vibhag mein abhi tak koi adhikar nahin diya gaya hai (This is disrespect of a public representative… I have not been allocated responsibilities either in the Jal Shakti Department so far).”

Khatik said that because of the policies of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the Dalits and the backward classes were with the BJP. But if he could not work for his community, there was no point in him continuing. “Mein apne pad se tyagpatra de raha hoon (I am resigning from my post),” the letter said.

BSP chief Mayawati said the development showed the reality of how the BJP treated Dalits. “The neglect of a Dalit minister within the Uttar Pradesh BJP Cabinet is highly condemnable and unfortunate,” she said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said it was best to resign from a government where one did not get respect, and instead was treated badly for being a Dalit. “Sometimes the bulldozer moves backwards,” he quipped, in a reference to the Adityanath government razing “illegal structures” of people held on criminal charges.

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Yadav said three Adityanath ministries were now seeing allegations regarding transfers – PWD, Health and Jal Shakti. “Janata pooch rahi hai, Uttar Pradesh ki BJP sarkar imandari se bataye, ab agli bari kiski hai (People are asking, that the BJP government should answer truthfully, who is next),” tweeted Akhilesh.

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First published on: 20-07-2022 at 02:28:12 pm

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