The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) called for state-wide protests in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday to condemn the derogatory remarks a BJP leader made against their party chief a day earlier.
The BJP’s state vice-president Dayashankar Singh had compared former chief minister Mayawati to a prostitute while accusing of her selling party tickets on Wednesday, a remark that cost him his position in the party.
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley assured the Dalit leader of action in the matter when the issue caused uproar in the parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
Singh was immediately stripped of his designation, and, by late Wednesday night, was expelled from the party for six years.
However, these measures seem to have done little to assuage BSP party workers.
On Wednesday, a large number of them assembled at public places and crossings in Banda, Fatehpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Sultanpur, Bahraich, Ghaziabad, Agra and Ghazipur.
BSP state president Ramachal Rajbhar had told Hindustan Times that the party intended to launch a countrywide protest in the matter, with demonstrations planned at its district headquarters on Thursday.
In Lucknow, workers were told to assemble near the statue of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar in Hazratganj, the same area where the BJP state headquarters is located.
They are expected to be joined by the Leader of opposition in Vidhan Sabha, Gaya Charan Dinkar, and the leader of opposition in Vidhan Parishad, Naseemudin Siddiqui, with Rajbhar, party sources said.
WATCH: Mayawati slur: Massive protest by BSP in Lucknow's Hazratganj against Dayashankar Singh.https://t.co/42HZ0CWzds— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 21, 2016
In view of the protests, the district administration increased security in Lucknow, while police personnel have been deployed around the BJP office. The administration also asked the BSP to hold its protests at the designated ‘dharna stal’ instead of Hazratganj.
Condemning Dayashankar Singh’s comment, Rajbhar had earlier said, “(The comment) shows the bias among the BJP leaders against a Dalit leader. Singh also cast a slur against a woman who is widely respected and has a mass following.”
The party would continue its protest till action was taken against Singh according to law, he added.
Mayawati had also called for Singh’s arrest.
Political observer RK Mishra said that it was unusual for the BSP to take to the streets, but in light of the state assembly election next year, the party was using this as an opportunity to discredit the BJP.
“With a few months left for assembly election, the BSP has decided to mobilise its cadre on the outrageous comment issue. The party has also decided to rally its supporters by attaching the issue with the dignity of Mayawati. The issue has come in handy for the BSP to dub BJP an anti-Dalit party to check its attempt to make inroads into the Dalit vote bank.”
The BSP also found support from the Samajwadi Party, which, on Wednesday, condemned the remarks. A ruling party spokesman said the party always held women in high esteem and would not tolerate comments which damaged their dignity.
(With inputs from PTI)