Press Trust of india

BJP faces discontent among SC MPs from Uttar Pradesh

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New Delhi, Apr 7 :  Facing flak from opposition on Dalit issues, the BJP is now grappling with a rising voice of discontent among its MPs belonging to scheduled castes in Uttar Pradesh, the most crucial state for its electoral fortune in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Its Lok Sabha MPs fron Etawah and Nagina, Ashok Kumar Dohrey and Yashwant Singh respectively, are the latest to join other Dalit colleagues, who have publicly expressed their unhappiness, especially after the recent protests by Dalits on the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dohrey said Dalits and tribals across the country, especially in Uttar Pradesh, are being “framed” by police in false cases after the protests, leading to a sense of growing insecurity among them.

He told PTI that he also met Modi over the matter and that the prime minister was positive in his response.

“He was sensitive to my concerns,” he said.

Singh was, however, unsparing in his criticism in his letter to the prime minister.

Nothing has been done for Dalits in the last four years, he reportedly said, adding that representatives from the community like him were finding it increasingly difficult to address the concerns of their constituents.

Several judicial decisions had hit their rights, he said, demanding that the government should bring laws for the community’s welfare, including quota in private sector.

Prior to these two MPs, Robertsganj Lok Sabha MP Chhotelal had written to Modi and accused UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of “scolding” him when he went to take up an issue with him.

While these three Dalit parliamentarians of the BJP have approached Modi with their concerns, Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phoole has virtually turned a rebel. She held a “save Constitution” rally in Lucknow last month in which BJP flags and symbols were missing.

She has repeatedly spoken about attacks on the Constitution and speculation is rife she may join the Bahujan Samaj Party, which she had earlier left to join the BJP.

Political watchers believe that the disquiet among the BJPs Dalit MPs may have serious repercussion for the saffron party as they are all from UP, which has the largest population of the community and sends 80 MPs, more than any other state, to the Lok Sabha.

Already faced with the challenge of a likely formidable alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, the discontent among its Dalit MPs is bound to add to the BJP’s woes as it prepares for the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The SP-BSP combine had defeated the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, a bastion of Adityanath.  Sources also pointed out that most of these BJP MPs, who have targeted their party’s policies, represent constituencies which were never seen as a saffron bastion before the party rode on Modi wave in 2014 to trounce its rivals.

The BJP had won 71 of 80 UP seats in 2014 and had made a clean sweep of all 17 seats reserved for scheduled castes candidates.

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