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Outreach effort to blunt Oppn charge of being anti-Brahmin, BJP forms new panel

Sources in the party said that feedback from the ground suggested that the Opposition parties have been successful to an extent in sending out a message that Brahmins in UP has not been getting due respect and representation in the Yogi Adityanath government.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: December 28, 2021 8:03:55 am
anti-Brahmin, Opposition, BJP, India news, Indian express, Indian express news, current affairsBJP chief JP Nadda met party’s Brahmin leaders. (File)

After taking feedback from its cadre, the BJP has constituted a four-member committee to draw the party’s strategy and programmes aimed at wooing the Brahmin community in the state ahead of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources in the party said that feedback from the ground suggested that the Opposition parties have been successful to an extent in sending out a message that Brahmins in UP has not been getting due respect and representation in the Yogi Adityanath government.

Brahmins constitute around 13 per cent of the population in Uttar Pradesh.

The committee comprising Rajya Sabha member Shiv Pratap Shukla, former union minister Mahesh Sharma, BJP youth wing leader Abhijat Mishra and Lok Sabha MP from Gujarat, Ram Bhai Mokariya, was constituted on Sunday after Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is also the BJP’s in-charge for UP elections, held a meeting of senior party officials in Delhi.

Among those who attended the meeting were the party’s senior Brahmin leaders, including ministers in the Adityanath government and parliamentarians.

“We will hold programmes to remove misconceptions that are being spread by the Opposition parties that the BJP is neglecting the (Brahmin) community. Outreach programmes will be held to highlight the works that BJP and the UP government have done for the Brahmins,” Shiv Pratap Shukla, who will be heading the four-member committee, told The Indian Express.

On Monday, the committee members and other Brahmin leaders, including ministers in the UP government — Shrikant Sharma, Brajesh Pathak, Satish Chandra Dwivedi — met BJP national president JP Nadda. “The Brahmin samaj (community) of Uttar Pradesh apprised about the issues and concerns it is facing, and gave a memorandum to BJP president JP Nadda and received a positive assurance and blessings,” Brajesh Pathak tweeted after meeting Nadda.

According to a BJP leader, who was present in the meeting, the party will hold Small meetings of 100 to 150 Brahmins across the state.

“The committee will do the planning and assign leaders for meetings. Brahmin ministers, MPs, MLAs and party leaders will address those meetings that will start from January first week,” said the BJP leader, adding the focus would be “remove the misconception that the SP, BSP and Congress have created in them about the BJP”.

Notably, Union Minister of State (Home) Ajay Mishra “Teni”, who is a two-term MP from Lakhimpur Kheri, was not present in the meeting with Nadda.

Union MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra.

Ajay Mishra, who was the lone Brahmin face from UP to be inducted into the Narendra Modi government in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, did, however, attend Sunday’s meeting with Dharmendra Pradhan.

Ajay Mishra has not been assigned any task under the Brahmin outreach programme, a source said.

The minister’s son, Ashish Mishra, is among the 13 people arrested in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikonia in Lakhimpur Kheri district. Earlier this month, Ajay Mishra had allegedly called journalists “thieves” and pushed one of them when they sought his comment on his son being booked under additional IPC sections for the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.

The Opposition’s charge against the BJP government of neglecting the Brahmin community started intensifying around two years ago when BSP chief Mayawati announced that if voted to power in 2022, her government would install a grand statue of Parshuram. This was quickly followed by a similar announcement by the SP.

Before that, in 2018, when an Apple executive Vivek Tiwari was killed allegedly by two policemen in Lucknow, Mayawati had alleged that “atrocities against Brahmins have increased in the BJP rule”.

Following gangster Vikas Dubey’s death in an alleged police encounter in July, 2020, Mayawati had accused the Adityanath government of “harassing Brahmins” in the state.

The BSP has been wooing Brahmins in the run-up to the polls. Between July and August this year, the party held several meetings of “intellectuals” aimed at attracting Brahmins.

The Samajwadi Party, too, has been wooing the Brahmins. In a meeting held with Brahmin leaders of the party recently, the SP chalked out a roadmap to woo members of the community ahead of the 2022 elections.

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