BJP MP Kamlesh Paswan
BJP MP Kamlesh Paswan
Kamlesh Paswan Twitter

Lucknow: A letter from the BJP MP Bansgaon, Gorakhpur, to the President Ram Nath Kovid has triggered a controversy over the caste of Maharaja Suheldev in less than after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for his memorial in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh.

In his letter, the BJP claimed that the legendary warrior King belonged to Pasi community (dalit) and Rajbhar which was deliberately suffixed in his name by some vested interests.

Ironically, a minister in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet Anil Rajbhar contradicts Paswan's claims. The minister claimed that Maharaja Suheldev was Rajbhar and not Pasi.

Maharaja Suheldev is an iconic figure for the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the BJP’s ally in 2017 Assembly polls. It has been beating the drum that the warrior King was a Rajbhar, a backward community.

Rajbhars are in sizeable numbers in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and that was the reason that the BJP had a pre-poll alliance with SBSP which had won four seats in the Assembly polls and the party Chief Om Prakash Rajbhar was given a Cabinet berth. However, he was sacked in 2019 and BJP broke the alliance with the SBSP.

Since then the BJP has been trying to woo Rajbhars back into its fold after parting ways with the SBSP, which represents them in Eastern UP.

The SBSP Chief, Om Prakash Paswan, however, maintained Maharaja Suheldev was Rajbhar. He said that as per historical texts, Maharaja Suheldev belonged to the Bhar community, which is a sub-caste of Rajbhars.

Now the BJP MP’s letter to the President has triggered a controversy by claiming that Maharaja Suheldev was a Pasi not Rajbhar. In his letter, he has urged the President to ask the state government to verify history records and archives to confirm the caste.

He has also urged that his name should be read as Maharaja Suheldev Pasi in all plaques installed for laying foundation stone and other projects to beautify the area of Chittaura Lake.

The state government has, however, distanced itself from the BJP MP letter and controversy over the caste. It has clarified that the projects in the name Maharaj Suheldev were launched to commemorate contributions he made for the country. "His name would continue to be Maharaja Suheldev as he is known in history without any suffixes or prefixes," said a senior government officer.

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