BJP parries Rajput angst | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP parries Rajput angst

Apr 09, 2024 08:06 AM IST

Rajput organisations had requested both the BJP and the Congress to consider fielding members of the community, but their anger seems to be directed at the ruling party for now

On Sunday at a Rajput mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, a section of the community members verbalised their disappointment at being overlooked by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for tickets in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. (PTI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. (PTI Photo)

The community that largely votes for the BJP is upset that for the seven seats in western UP’s Meerut Mandal, the party chose not to field members from the community. The community was represented in the seven seats in the Moradabad Mandal.

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Rajput organisations had requested both the BJP and the Congress to consider fielding members of the community, but their anger seems to be directed at the ruling party for now.

Speaking at the Mahapachayat, president of Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, Thakur Puran Singh, declared that the Rajputs will vote for the candidate who is best equipped to defeat the BJP.

The community has conveyed its anger to the party, pointing out how their support was crucial to the BJP winning all seven seats in the Meerut Mandal in 2019. To be sure, the BJP could not win any of the 7 seats in the Moradabad Mandal because of the Samajwadi Party’s formidable alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party.

In 2014, the party had won all 14 seats.

The anger is not limited to UP alone. Community leaders from Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Delhi joined the mahapanchayat to register their protest and grievances.

In Haryana, anger has been brewing for almost a year. According to a party functionary, the community took umbrage at the designation of Mihir Bhoj, a ruler in the 9th century, as Gurjar Pratihar Samrat. The leader said what started off as a reaction to a perceived slight of a historical figure, morphed into disappointment over political representation.

The issue of not designating the ruler as Hindu Samrat has been challenge in court.

In Gujarat, the bastion of the BJP, the community is up in arms against Rajkot candidate and Union minister Parshottam Rupala for what is alleged as a disparaging remark against the community, counted as upper caste.

The minister stoked a controversy last month during an election rally when while praising Dalits he ended up riling the Rajputs. To commend the Dalits for standing up for values he said that while kings and royals bowed down to the British, and entered alliance with them, including marital, the Rukhi Samaj (a Dalit community) did not cede ground.

Rupala’s explanation and apology have not cut the ice and the community continues to demand his replacement.

The BJP for its part is busy diffusing the tension.

Senior party leaders, including those from the community, have been sent as emissaries for a rapprochement. It is like the exercise that was conducted by the party to placate the Jat community, agitated by the government’s response to the now repealed farm laws. Ahead of assembly polls in UP, home minister Amit Shah had extended an olive branch to the representatives of the community at a meeting, hosted by BJP’s lawmaker Parvesh Verma.

A leader, speaking anonymously, said the party does not anticipate damage to its poll prospects but does not want to take a chance. He recalled how the party lost the bypolls for the Ajmer and Alwar parliamentary seats and the Mandalgarh assembly seat in 2018 following a call to boycott the BJP by a section of Rajputs who were unhappy with the government for allowing the screening of the Hindu film Padmaavat. The BJP had held all three seats prior to the bypoll.

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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