A BJP Dalit MP from Uttar Pradesh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party national president Amit Shah alleging caste discrimination by the state government and local party unit, and that he was “scolded and thrown out” by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath twice when approached with his grievances.
In his letters written last month, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Robertsganj MP Chhote Lal Kharwar alleged his brother Jawahar Kharwar was removed as block president of Naugarh in Chandauli district last year on the back of a no-confidence motion in the block development council “fuelled by upper caste BJP leaders”. He also alleged that the local BJP unit had helped a SP-BSP-backed candidate win the post last month.
“This is such a shame… The only fault, making a Dalit the president of a general seat,” he wrote. He claimed he had approached BJP’s district office-bearers, BJP general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal, Chandauli MP and BJP state president Mahendra Nath Pandey and the chief minister in the matter but in vain. “Mukhya Mantri se bhi do bar mila lekin madad nahi mila, daant ke bhaga diya gaya (I also twice met the Chief Minister, but got no help, was scolded and thrown out),” he wrote. He claimed the state government singled him out for encroachment.
“After I complained to the state government about rampant misuse of forest land by powerful people, my house in Chandauli was declared built on encroached land by the forest department while other houses nearby were overlooked,” Kharwar told The Indian Express. He alleged that his complaint on being threatened and abused by an “upper caste bhumafiya (land grabber)” named Suddu Singh last year was also ignored.
“Only the National Commission for Scheduled Castes heard me out and directed district authorities to register a police complaint against the accused for threatening an MP,” Kharwar said. BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan refused to comment on the issue. BJP general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal and state president Mahendra Nath Pandey could not be reached for comment.
The public outcry from the MP comes days after 10 people died during massive protests by Dalit groups against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court.
Several bodies like the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of sadhus and saints in the country, and BJP state legislators have been complaining against the state government’s “style of functioning” over issues ranging from the Kumbh preparations to the BJP’s defeat in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats last month.