‘I quit’: UP minister Dinesh Khatik says he was being kept in the dark by officials

Jul 20, 2022 02:31 PM IST

UP minister Dinesh Khatik threatened to resign last year also when he was upset over action taken by the Meerut Police against a trader

LUCKNOW: Dinesh Khatik, an influential Dalit minister from western Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday sent his resignation from the state council of ministers, complaining that officials did not listen to him or share any information about his ministry.

UP minister Dinesh Khatik sent his resignation letter to Union home minister Amit Shah rather than chief minister Yogi Adityanath (Twitter/MLADineshKhatik)
UP minister Dinesh Khatik sent his resignation letter to Union home minister Amit Shah rather than chief minister Yogi Adityanath (Twitter/MLADineshKhatik)

Khatik, a two-time legislator, was inducted by chief minister Yogi Adityanath as a minister of state (MoS) for jal shakti, in September last year.

A copy of his resignation letter that emerged on social media, however, was addressed to Union home minister Amit Shah rather than the chief minister, a move that is being interpreted to imply that he may be open to the party persuading him not to press the matter.

Dalits, along with OBCs, have been the mainstay of BJP’s spectacular wins in UP.

Khatik’s letter did not directly target jal shakti minister Swatantra Dev Singh but the bureaucracy, who he said, thought that the MoS should not expect anything more than an official car.

In his letter that repeatedly referred to the fact that he was a Dalit, Khatik said he was not kept in the loop by the officials in matters related to the ministry, or invited to any of the departmental meetings.

The minister cited one instance where he sought information on July 9 about transfers in the department after receiving complaints of irregularities and corruption but did not get a response despite speaking to the top officials of the government and the department.

“Keeping chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s zero tolerance to corruption in mind, on July 9 I sought details about the transfers made in the department in 2022-23 but I that too wasn’t provided to me,” Khatik said in his letter.

“When I sought clarification, my phone was bluntly disconnected midway through the conversation and this is a big insult of an elected public representative,” Khatik’s letter said, accusing the top official in the irrigation department of insulting him and Dalits. He also alleged that there was widespread corruption in the Namami Gange scheme and in departmental transfers and postings. “My charges can be independently investigated by any agency,” he said.

Hours before his resignation letter emerged, Khatik refused to comment on speculation that he could resign as a minister. “ “Koi vishay nahi hai (There is no issue),” Khatik, who represents Meerut’s Hastinapur seat in the assembly, told newspersons as he got into his private car outside his Meerut house.

Some of his aides indicated that the minister may be on his way to Delhi for a meeting with party leaders.

To be sure, a senior party leader said Khatik was in Lucknow on Monday and attended a departmental meeting for some time. But he later headed back to his house in Hastinapur and switched off his phone.

Khatik’s senior minister Swatantra Dev Singh, who is also the state BJP chief, had earlier denied rumours that the junior minister was unhappy. “I talk to him daily,” said Singh.

To be sure, Dinesh Khatik threatened to resign last year over police action against a trader in Meerut’s Ganganagar and the reluctance of the local police officials to act on his directions.

There were unconfirmed reports that the sulking minister recently met a senior BJP functionary at the BJP office and was advised to meet the party leadership over reasons for his unhappiness.

Reacting to the UP minister going into sulk-mode , former minister and chief of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) said: “As it is, the ministers of state don’t have much say. Perhaps it is all an exercise to be the cabinet minister.”

Rajbhar said, “All I know is that Swatantra Dev, who heads the department is a hardworking minister and leader connected to the grassroots.”

Akhilesh Yadav reacts

“Where there is no respect in being a minister and disrespect for being a Dalit, in such a situation to ensure respect of one’s community, the better and logical thing to do is to resign … At times the bulldozer does move backwards too,” Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.

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