Following directives from the party’s top leadership, upper caste BJP leaders had lunch cooked by a Dalit family at a slum in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi to mark the birth anniversary of Bhimrao Ambedkar on Tuesday. In Lucknow too, a team of BJP leaders had lunch with a Dalit family in a slum.
In Varanasi, a team of seven leaders — Mahangar president Pradeep Agrahari, Kashi region secretary Mahesh Srivastava, media in-charge Sanjay Bhardwaj, IT cell convener Piyush Vardhan Singh, youth wing leader Abhinav Pandey, Mahanagar vice-president Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya and district SC wing president Manoj Kumar Sonkar (a Dalit) — had lunch with the family of fruit vendor Munna Lal (42).
Munna Lal’s 11-member family include two sons and six daughters. They stay at Shivdaspur Nai Basti near Tarkeshwar Nath Temple in Varanasi.
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The BJP leaders had lunch with Munna Lal outside his house in plates reportedly used by the family everyday. Munna Lal’s eldest daughter Chanchal (19), a Class XII drop out, served them food.
“All the arrangements were made by Munnalal himself. There was no specific criteria for visiting any particular family but we went to Munna Lal’s house because he took the initiative of inviting us for lunch,” said Sonkar.
Bhardwaj said: “Such programmes will be orgnaised in other parts of the city as well in the coming days to send out the message that BJP believes in nationalist ideology and unity of all caste and communities.”
In Lucknow, a ‘Sahbhoj’ was organised in a slum of ‘Kori’ community at Saadatganj area. Uuion Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son and state general secretary Pankaj Singh, along with other BJP leaders, had lunch with nearly 50 Dalits families there.
A seminar on Ambedkar was also organised at the state BJP headquarters, which was addressed by party’s national co-organisation secretary Shiv Prakash, former MP Lalji Tandon, state general secretary Ramapati Shastri and other leaders. Union ministers Kalraj Mishra, Ram Shankar Katheria and Santosh Gangwar also attended similar seminars in their constituencies Deoria, Agra and Bareilly, respectively. Other party MPs too attended such events in their constituencies.