New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Northwest Delhi MP Udit Raj, a Dalit leader, has raised a banner of revolt against the Modi government, accusing it of giving no attention to his repeated warning that the Dalit community is drifting away from the party for several reasons.
A former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official, he has convened a meeting of the All-India Confederation of SC/ST organisations, a non-political outfit he created 20 years ago, here on Sunday to discuss issues confronting the Scheduled Caste (Dalits) and Schedule Tribe (Adivasis) population in what is seen as showing his strength on the ground.
A first-time MP with no RSS background, Udit Raj knows that he would have to be largely on his own in the next electoral battle that is only few months away. His rapport with his community would matter a lot particularly in the background of growing anger among Dalits against the BJP and Modi government.
He has gathered courage to come out into open, other Dalit MPs are very nervous about their victory in the next Lok Sabha election because their own community is very angry with the Modi government. The BJP sources said the RSS and the BJP are keeping a close watch on the Dalit MPs as others may not have come out in open but they are sulking and simmering with anger that may burst out any time soon.
Even the articulate Udit Raj is careful not to cross the ‘Laxman Rekha’ of indiscipline as he said the Modi government is not at fault as it has launched several programmes for the Dalits but it is the bureaucracy which is sabotaging them by not executing them properly on the ground. He regretted that he has been drawing attention of the BJP leadership but without any remedial steps.
The issues he has listed for the June 17 conference include the Supreme Court judgment on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, increasing number of cases being lodged against members of the SC and ST communities since April 2 Bharat Bandh and the University Grants Commission’s March 5 guidelines on recruitment that affects the reservations.
Udit Raj has even faulted the government’s scheme of lateral appointment of 10 joint secretary-level officers from outside, insisting that it should be amended to provide the quota for SC and ST. “Don’t tell me that there is no talent in SC/ST persons. The constitutional guarantee to them cannot be violated with such excuse,” he said. Such steps are making the Dalit community uneasy when the BJP seen as an upper caste-dominated party wants to favour only the “privileged castes,” he said.
He also faulted the government for repeatedly talking of issuing an Ordinance to reverse the Supreme Court’s March 20 verdict on the atrocities Act despite the fact that the number of incidents of atrocities are increasing like those in Jalgaon in Maharashtra and Mehsana in Gujarat as there is no fear in the minds of the upper caste people in view of the law’s dilution.