Dalit MLAs of Samajwadi Party are facing the ire of Scheduled Caste government employees over the party’s decision to oppose reservation in promotion and the state demoting SC employees, who were promoted earlier in lieu of quota.
The SC employees are currently staging demonstrations outside the houses of MLAs in their native districts, forcing them to come out against their party and support the community.
Due to the repeated dharnas, all Dalit MLAs are preferring to stay away from their houses on Sundays — the day the employees hold the protest.
Sticking to its poll manifesto, SP has scrapped reservation in promotion citing a Supreme Court decision, resulting in the demotion of hundreds of Dalit employees and officials.
Many Dalit officers in PWD, irrigation, power, police and other departments of the state have been demoted to their previous posts.
The SP has most number of Dalit MLAs, 58, among the total 85 reserved seats in Uttar Pradesh.
SP’s SC/ST cell president Subhash Pasi claimed that he will raise the issue with the government to stop the demotions. “I will reach Lucknow tomorrow and meet Dalit employees. The next day, I will take up their issues with the state government and request that demotions be stopped,” said Pasi, the MLA from Saidpur constituency in Ghazipur district.
“The dharnas are a part of the protest by Dalit employees. We want SP’s Dalit legislators to realise the injustice which is being done against their community by the state government,” said Awadesh Verma, chairman of Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti — a body of Dalit employees fighting for restoration of reservation in promotion.
On every Sunday, Dalit employees stage dharna for several hours, raising slogans at the districts
So far, such dharnas have been held outside the residences of nine MLAs in Lucknow, Barabanki and other districts. Another 49 MLAs from the Dalit community are left.
“We have been approached indirectly by SP’s Dalit MLAs to drop our protest. They have expressed sympathy but are not coming out in the open. We want them to question their government,” Verma said.
The state government, in a reconciliatory note, has ordered that the salary and perks of demoted Dalit employees will not be reduced.
But the olive branch has failed to impress the employees.