Skip to main content

BJP's Dalit, tribal MPs restive post-Bharat Bandh: Protest to Modi, as he tells them to "regain" faith in Ambedkar

Dr Yashwant Singh
By Our Representative
Following the successful Bharat Bhandh on April 2, a largely spontaneous Dalit-Adivasi event, the BJP is beginning to show signs of nervousness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to ask party MPs to spend at least two nights in Dalit-dominated villages and “restore” faith of the community in the BJP comes close on the heels of the party’s Dalit MPs telling him that the saffron party was fast losing out Dalit support.
Modi reportedly told MPs to choose any of the 20,000 villages of India, which have more than 50% of Dalit population for spending two nights between April 14, Baba Ambedkar’s birthday, and May 2. A significant target group for the 2019 elections, the Dalit community forms 16.6% of India’s population.
Modi was forced to give the call close on the heels of BJP’s Dalit MPs telling him as well as those who had gathered at the Mumbai party meet that the Bharat Bandh, called in protest against the Supreme Court move to dilute the Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act, suggested] the party had lost its edge in the Dalit community.
Dalit leaders in the party said they had to virtually go to every minister and leaders to convince them that the Supreme Court order would harm the community. Dalits, they said, seemed convinced that the Modi government failed to effectively counter the apex court argument on POA Act being “misused” against innocent citizens. The result was, the BJP was not being seen as a pro-Dalit party.
BJP’s Dalit MPs are beginning to show signs of restiveness by writing letters to Modi. Dr Yashwant Singh, MP from Nagina in Uttar Pradesh, said in his letter that the government has not take any step to implement reservation policy in the private sector, even as insisting that there is a need to increase the proportion of Dalits in the judiciary.
Belonging to the Dalits’ Jatav sub-caste, and insisting on passing a bill on reservation in the private sector, he wrote, “I am MD from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences… I have become an MP because of reservation, and my ability is not being used. There is no existence of Dalits in society without reservation.”
Dr Singh's letter to Modi
The letter says, he had insisted on passing a bill on reservation in private sector four years ago, yet nothing has happened. He adds, “No work has been done by your government for the direct benefit of nearly 300 million Dalits in this country… There is no representation of Dalits in courts, one reason why courts are prone to give decisions against Dalits and remove our rights from time to time.”
Dr Singh’s letter comes following three other BJP MPs –  Chhota Lal Khawar, Ashok Kumar Dohre and Savitri Bai Phule – accusing the Uttar Pradesh’s BJP government under Yogi Adityanath and the Modi government for failing to take cognizance of growing atrocities on Dalits.
Dalit MP from Robertsganj, Khawar, in his letter to Modi, complained how Adityanath scolded him and asked to him leave his room when he wished to meet him to raise issues of Dalits. Khawar has accused Adityanath of caste bias, and has gone so far as to approach the National Commission on Scheduled Castes with a complain of threat by dominant caste people in a land dispute.
MP from Bahraich, Phule organized an independent rally in Lucknow on April 1. The colour of the event was not saffron but blue, with Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram’s portrait in the centre-stage.
Dohre, Adivasi MP from Etawah, in his letter to Modi, is learnt to have complained against the Uttar Pradesh police, saying it has been increasingly targeting Dalit. According to him, the state police used foul language against Dalits, and registered false cases against them in the wake of the violence during the Bharat Bandh.
Phule told reporters, “I am India’s MP and it doesn’t matter if I remain MP or not, but will not tolerate any changes to the constitution and reservation.” The rally was called tSave Indian Constitution and Reservation rally.
BJP Dalit MPs are also disappointed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked Ambedkar in his Mann ki Baat radio address on Sunday, but maintained a studied silence on the Supreme Court seeking to dilute the POA Act.
"This is a very urgent and important issue. It is the lifeline for SCs and STs. This must be resolved without delay. We will not go on tolerating this," BJP MP Udit Raj reportedly said.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.