Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana’s dinner at the house of a Dalit man on Monday night has created controversy as it was reported that he brought with him his own food and water. Rana, however, rejected the allegation, saying, “The food was prepared in the village, by the villagers themselves.” Meanwhile, pictures of the well laid out dining table with an assortment of dishes and cutlery went viral on the social media.
The BJP leader’s clarification came against the backdrop of reports that he and his aides had gone to the house of the Dalit family to dine with them on Monday night, but ordered food, mineral water and cutlery from outside as the family was not aware of the minister’s visit.
Interestingly, the Dalit man was not aware of the minister’s plan of having dinner at his house. “I didn’t even know they are coming for dinner. They came suddenly. They had arranged all food, water and cutlery from outside,” Rajnish Kumar, the Dalit man who “hosted” the minister, told news agency ANI.
Lohagadh(Aligarh): Rajnish Kumar, Dalit man at whose house UP Minister Suresh Rana had dinner yesterday says, ‘I didn’t even know they are coming for dinner,they came suddenly.All food.water and cutlery they had arranged from outside’ pic.twitter.com/TIXMVtV825
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 2, 2018
Asked to comment on the house owner’s claim that he was unaware of the dinner, Rana said, “This is a piece of information you are giving me. The entire family was sitting with me during the dinner. I saw a news clip that claimed that food was brought from outside or some hotel. The food was prepared in that village itself by the villagers.”
When reporters confronted him by claiming that the food was served by a caterer and it did not look like it was cooked at a poor Dalit house, the minister said, “I am reiterating that the food was prepared at the house of a Dalit. The village head is a Dalit, the local MLA is a Dalit, the programme was organised by them and there was a community feast. An issue is being made out of this as some people have problems with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.”
Claiming that those who did politics from their “plush drawing rooms, five-star hotels and AC rooms” had problems with the BJP reaching the “gaaon, gareeb and Dalits (the villages, the poor and the Dalits)”, Rana said, “I will invite them to spend a night in Lohagarh village and only then will they realise.”
Last year, soon after the BJP took charge in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Adityanath’s visit to a soldier’s house had triggered a controversy after it was reported that an air-conditioner was installed and a carpet, a saffron sofa and saffron towels were sent to the house before his arrival.
(With PTI inputs)