New Delhi: Simmering anger and discontent among the BJPâs dalit leaders have begun to come out in the open.
A day after the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) threatened an âaggressive dalit stirâ on August 9, the BJPâs prominent dalit face, Dr Udit Raj virtually held the government responsible for âfailingâ the community.
Undeterred by any retaliatory strike by the BJP high command for criticising the Centre on dalit issues before the 2019 general elections, Dr Raj said, âInstead of taking action, the BJP should rather thank me. I am making them aware of their non-performance and shortcomings.â
Speaking to this correspondent on his way back to New Delhi from Kolkata, Dr Raj breathed fire against the dalit ministers in the Union cabinet. âThey are like parasites. They are enjoying the benefits and perks of being ministers while ignoring the community,â he said.
There are speculations in the BJP that upset with his âfrequent outburstsâ against the party on dalit issues, a section of âinfluential saffron leadersâ were against re-nominating him from North-West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
Asked about the possible action, Dr Raj claimed that he was ânot speaking against the party, but in its favour.â He maintained that the party must take âeffective steps to stop atrocities on dalits.â He, however, dismissed ârumoursâ that he was planning to switch camps. âI am not leaving BJP,â he asserted.
Making it clear that he is one of the âmany voices which go unheardâ in the BJP, Dr Raj said; âNo one listens to me. I have no say in the party.â Accusing the government of âfailingâ the dalits, Dr Raj said that the so-called policies for the welfare of the community were ânot being communicated.â
Talking about the âparasitic tendenciesâ of the dalit ministers in the Modi Cabinet, Dr Raj said that âthey (the ministers) behave like parasites and itâs time the party takes action.â The dalit leader observed that whatever he was saying âis the voice of the masses.â
Asked about LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, who was also trying to emerge as the voice of dalits, Dr Raj maintained that he could not only speak for himself. âPlease ask Paswanji, what he intends to do for dalits,â he said. On Friday Mr Paswan threatened an âaggressive dalit stirâ if the government did not bring an to overturn the Supreme Courtâs March 20 order that âdilutedâ the original SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and on top of that appointed Justice A.K. Goel, âwho ruled against the Actâ, as NGT chairman. On the issue of Justice Goel, Dr Raj maintained that he was âanti-dalitâ and would only âharm the community.â
Earlier at least four BJP Dalit MPs from Uttar Pradesh had openly voiced their dissent against the way the party leadership over the dalit issue. The MPs include Savitri Bai Phule from Bahraich, Chhote Lal Kharwar from Robertsganj, Ashok Kumar Dohre from Etawah and Yashwant Singh from Nagina.