The BJP’s vice-president in Uttar Pradesh was removed from his post after his remark comparing former state chief minister Mayawati to a “prostitute” on Wednesday triggered outrage among politicians who called for his arrest.
In the evening, the BSP lodged an FIR against Daya Shankar Singh for derogatory remark.
UP Police said the FIR was lodged under the SC/ST act and the matter will be investigated.
Attacking the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief for allegedly selling party tickets, Dayashankar Singh, an upper caste Thakur, called the Dalit leader a “vaishya” while speaking in Mau. Though he immediately withdrew his statement and apologised for the remark, it was enough for Mayawati to point out that Singh’s manners were indicative of the saffron party’s “growing frustration”.
“Dayashankar Singh should be arrested otherwise, if in response to this people get violent, it will not be on my conscience,” Mayawati said in the Rajya Sabha.
The Congress, too, attacked the BJP leader for his remark. “This man has to be arrested before sun down. This has to be made an example of,” Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said.
With the incident causing an uproar in the Rajya Sabha, senior BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley immediately took cognizance of the issue, announcing his support for the Dalit leader.
“I should tell Mayawati ji that the party shares her grief over this issue, I will look into this matter, we stand with her. I am personally hurt that a BJP party person used such derogatory words against her,” he responded in the house.
Mayawati also attacked Singh in Parliament, calling for his arrest.
“There are war of thoughts and ideas in the House, but never have I used derogatory words against anyone ever. Dayashankar Singh should be arrested otherwise, if in response to this people get violent, it will not be on my conscience,” she said in the upper house.
Singh’s comments come at a time when protests are growing in Gujarat over an attack on four Dalit men, with opposition MPs disrupting the Wednesday’s parliament sessions, and accusing the BJP-led NDA of condoning the attacks.
In April this year, the BJP had expelled Madhu Mishra, the party’s UP women wing president in the state for making anti-Dalit remarks.
Earlier in the day, the BJP’s state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak had apologised for the remark, stating the party would look into the matter.
“But as far as the ticket-selling charge against Mayawatiji is concerned, even her former party members are openly levelling that charge,” he countered.
A former Lucknow Union Students Union (LUSU) president, Singh was promoted from secretary to the state vice-president in UP BJP chief, Keshav Prasad Maurya’s team.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Singh had said, “I was attacking her for selling tickets. I said that she can do anything for money; sell ticket for Rs 1 crore in the morning, the same ticket for Rs 2 crore in the afternoon and for Rs 3 crore by the evening. I then referred to the crisis of credibility that she faces. In a different context, I had said that even prostitutes have some credibility.”
Singh’s comments also come two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Gorakhpur.
The BJP has been upping its game in the state that goes to polls early next year, and has been locked in a battle with the BSP, among other parties.
Earlier in January, Modi had visited Lucknow’s Ambedkar University and Ambedkar Mahasabha to meet Dalits – an important vote bank in Uttar Pradesh. Modi’s visit came in the backdrop of a Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad, a death that was blamed on two of his ministers.
(With inputs from ANI)