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PM Modi expected to call BJP MLAs in UP ahead of Amit Shah’s Lucknow visit

Modi’s phone call to UP MLAs has been timed hours ahead of BJP chief Amit Shah’s visit to Lucknow to take stock of the Adityanath government’s rule.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2018 13:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Narendra Modi,BJP,UP MLAs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (HT PHOTO)

With the BJP in a damage control mode following the Dalit agitation and the Unnao gang rape case in which the survivor has named an MLA, the Uttar Pradesh unit of the party has asked all its 311 lawmakers to remain alert for a phone call from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

“All the BJP lawmakers have been asked to keep their phones on from 11 am, the time around which the Prime Minister could talk to them,” Vijay Bahadur Pathak, the general secretary of the state unit of the BJP confirmed.

There was no clarity if Modi would speak to all the MLAs on a conference call or to just a few of them.

“We have no idea what the Prime Minister would like to talk to us about. Let’s see,” a BJP lawmaker said.

Modi’s phone call has been timed hours before BJP chief Amit Shah begins a day long visit to Lucknow to take stock of Yogi Adityanath government’s rule in Uttar Pradesh. Shah’s visit is taking place amid growing discontent from within the party over the handling of Dalits in the state.

Shah would garland the statue of Dalit icon Jyotiba Phule that was built during the rule of BSP chief Mayawati on Phule’s birth anniversary.

The optics apart, Shah is also scheduled to meet BJP allies like Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, an OBC, who has been accusing the Adityanath government of bias towards allies. Three Dalit MPs of the BJP have recently written to the PM alleging caste discrimination by the Adityanath government and in general.

Rajbhar is also scheduled to hold a rally in Deoria later in the day where his speech would indicate if discussions with Shah were fruitful, an SBSP leader said.

While Dalits and OBCs are showing increasing signs of restlessness under the Adityanath government, it is the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman allegedly by Unnao MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his aides and the death of her father in judicial custody has pushed the state government on the backfoot.

The rape survivor had made an immolation bid outside the chief minister’s residence in Lucknow on Sunday alleging that she had been denied justice. The matter escalated when her father who had been arrested after being beaten allegedly by the MLA’s brother and his aides died in judicial custody on Monday.

His body bore several injury marks indicative of brutal beating.

“The chief minister has ordered the police to submit a preliminary report of the Special Investigating Team set up to probe the case by Wednesday evening itself. The BJP lawmaker’s brother has been arrest in connection with the assault and death of the man whose daughter has levelled rape allegations on the MLA,” an official of the chief minister’s office said.

The UP Police insists that it will get to the bottom of the case, but Kuldeep Singh Sengar has not yet been questioned by the police.

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 13:07 IST