As part of its plan to woo the dalits ahead of UP Assembly polls next year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chalked out a spate of programmes which include party chief Amit Shah to share a meal with a Dalit family in a village under Varanasi LS constituency.
On his way to Allahabad from Varanasi Airport on 31 May, Shah will halt at Jogiyapur village to share a meal with a Dalit family.
It may be noted that the BJP wants to drive away the notion that it is a party which provides little or no space at all to Dalits. In politically sensitive Uttar Pradesh, Dalits make up about 17% of the population.
He will share a meal with Girjaprasad Bind and Ikbal Bind’s family, who belong to the Dalit community.
Shah’s rally comes four days after PM Narendra Modi chose Saharanpur to mark two years in office, launching the BJP’s campaign in the state.
Several party leaders were in Allahabad, where the BJP’s executive will meet on June 12 and 13, reviewing the rally’s preparations.
A fortnight ago, eyeing the assembly polls, Shah took a holy dip along with Dalit sadhus in Kshipra river at Kumbh in Ujjain overcoming reservations from several quarters.
Meanwhile, taking a jibe at Shah’s plan to have a meal with a Dalit family in Varanasi, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 31 May said “Such things were done in the past too. Elections are near and these are done to give a message. Some will take a dip (in river) also.”
Samajwadi Party aims to reach out to people only on the basis of their work. Referring to the recent lunch he had with labourers, he said, “I didn’t distinguish on the basis of caste. If you all have pictures, go and find out the caste of the labourer who sat next to me. I thank media for showing photos of poor people drinking mineral water and having mutton and chicken when I had lunch with them.”