By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Whatever Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may claim during the election campaign in Karnataka, the Gram Swaraj Yojna for Dalit outreach in Uttar Pradesh has created a major embarrassment for BJP and the government.
The programme was launched on Ambedkar Jayanti April 14 and ended on May 5. Under it senior ministers and key office-bearers of the party and legislators were expected to hold chaupals in villages and stay there, sharing meals with Dalits.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was himself shocked when people complained to him during his two-day stay in village in Pratapgarh that the government schemes of the Centre and the state had not reached them. Yogi immediately summoned senior officers at the dais and asked them to answer to the villagers. He was very angry with the local officials and ordered action against them.
This was repeated in other places where villagers, especially Dalits, complained to visiting ministers and BJP leaders that the schemes meant for them had not reached the villages despite tall claims to the contrary by successive governments. The government and the party were embarrassed with reports that certain ministers and leaders took Gram Swaraj Yojna as Dalit tourism.
There were reports that minister Suresh Raina took his own food and water from outside and reached the house of a Dalit at midnight, but ate the food he brought and spent the night there. According to reports, even a comfortable bed was arranged for the minister. Anupama Jaiswal, another minister, is reported to have said that the BJP ministers were spending nights in the villages despite mosquitoes there.
There have been several reports that the ministers somehow spent the night in the villages to meet the target given to them, but left early in the morning to their comfort zones. In some places new utensils were arranged for the visiting BJP leaders.
Shocked by such reports senior BJP MPs openly complained about the scheme in the media. Uma Bharti and MPs Udit Raj MP and Savitibai Phule expressed their anger the way certain BJP leaders made a mockery of the scheme. They were of the opinion that sharing meals and spending the night at their homes will not solve the problems of Dalits.
BJP leaders and strategists are worried as the Opposition is bound to raise this issue in by-elections for the Lok Sabha at Kairana and assembly at Noorpur in Bijnor.
BJP state president Mahendra Pande has summoned a meeting of senior leaders to deal with the situation and work out a strategy to win the elections, which are considered very crucial for the party especially after defeat in Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-elections. (IPA Service)
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