New Delhi: Simmering anger and discontent among the BJP’s dalit leaders have begun to come out in the open.
A day after the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) threatened an “aggressive dalit stir” on August 9, the BJP’s prominent dalit face, Dr Udit Raj virtually held the government responsible for “failing” 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, “Instead of taking action, the BJP should rather thank me. I am making them aware of their non-performance and shortcomings.”
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. “They are like parasites. They are enjoying the benefits and perks of being ministers while ignoring the community,” he said.
There are speculations in the BJP that upset with his “frequent outbursts” against the party on dalit issues, a section of “influential saffron leaders” were against re-nominating him from North-West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
Asked about the possible action, Dr Raj claimed that he was “not speaking against the party, but in its favour.” He maintained that the party must take “effective steps to stop atrocities on dalits.” He, however, dismissed “rumours” that he was planning to switch camps. “I am not leaving BJP,” he asserted.
Making it clear that he is one of the “many voices which go unheard” in the BJP, Dr Raj said; “No one listens to me. I have no say in the party.” Accusing the government of “failing” the dalits, Dr Raj said that the so-called policies for the welfare of the community were “not being communicated.”
Talking about the “parasitic tendencies’ of the dalit ministers in the Modi Cabinet, Dr Raj said that “they (the ministers) behave like parasites and it’s time the party takes action.” The dalit leader observed that whatever he was saying “is the voice of the masses.”
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. “Please ask Paswanji, what he intends to do for dalits,” he said. On Friday Mr Paswan threatened an “aggressive dalit stir” if the government did not bring an to overturn the Supreme Court’s March 20 order that “diluted” the original SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and on top of that appointed Justice A.K. Goel, “who ruled against the Act”, as NGT chairman. On the issue of Justice Goel, Dr Raj maintained that he was “anti-dalit” and would only “harm the community.”
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.