CM holds village chaupal, has dinner at Dalit home
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a village chaupal in Kandhai Madhupur village in Pratapgarh and interacted with locals, a practice he wants followed by BJP men in all the approximately 90000 villages of Uttar Pradesh.Updated: Apr 24, 2018 13:58 IST
Hindustan Times, Pratapgarh/Lucknow
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a village chaupal in Kandhai Madhupur village in Pratapgarh and interacted with locals, a practice he wants followed by BJP men in all the approximately 90000 villages of Uttar Pradesh.
Adityanath, who spent the night after dining at a Dalit’s house, is the first chief minister in a decade to have taken a night halt in a village. He will repeat the same drill on April 26 at Mehndipur village, where his host will be the dalit gram pradhan of the village.
Several villagers, including many women, were seen at the chaupal where Adityanath interacted with villagers, most of whom were OBCs and Dalits, the group BJP is wooing ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The chief minister also gave away kits of Ujjawala Yojana, the scheme being run by ministry of petroleum and natural gas for providing LPG connections to women below poverty line, at the chaupal, obliged mothers by feeding kheer to a new born and said that his government would always be there for them. Village chaupals, dinner at Dalit houses and night halts in villages are part of BJP’s gram swaraj campaign that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14, Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.
He also spoke to the villagers about the Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and the drinking water scheme being run by the government. Adityanath also directed the officials to hold camps to provide ration cards and gas connections within a week to all those who didn’t have it. He also ordered officials to read out names of 136 beneficiaries figuring on the list of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
As soon as the chaupal commenced, the villagers unable to get their voice heard, broke the barrier and reached almost near the stage and started apprising Adityanath about their woes, largely pertaining to official apathy.
The CM realizing the anguish of villagers called Pratapgarh district magistrate Shambhu Kumar along with chief development officer and district panchayat raj officer (DPRO) on stage and made them answer the complaints one by one. He questioned the DPRO as to why toilets were missing from houses and ordered for transferring money in account of beneficiers by tomorrow.
He questioned DM as to why ration cards of villagers were not yet made and why panchayat level officials did not know the count of families residing in the village.
Expressing annoyance Yogi Adityanath ordered holding of week-long special camps in every corner of the village and ensure enrolling of every genuine beneficiary residing in the village in different welfare schemes.
He also warned that he would not leave the place on Tuesday morning after launching of ‘School Chalo Abhiyaan’ without reviewing work of drinking water scheme in the village.
“It’s a unique campaign to take the government to the doorstep of the villagers and address their concerns. It will help us create a New India that the PM has been talking of, an India that is strong and self reliant,” UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey said.
Adityanath’s security had a tough time balancing between the chief minister’s wish to allow access to villagers and ensuring that there was no security threat. “Such village chaupals would continue. We would want to cover all the villages, interact with all of you,” Adityanath was heard telling the villagers.
Despite instructions from the chief minister’s office to keep it simple, Dayaram Saroj, the Dalit lekhpal, made elaborate arrangements. Anticipating several people, Manju Devi, the lekhpal’s wife, started preparing for dinner from 4 pm even when Adityanath’s chaupal hadn’t even begun. The dinner comprised four types of vegetables, chapattis and rice with ‘kheer’ for dessert. Adityanath praised the preparations before proceeding to upper secondary school campus for the night halt.
“Instructions have already been issued not to make any special arrangements like ACs for the chief minister,” an aide of the chief minister said.
Though the Gorakhnath temple of Gorakhpur of which Adityanath is the head priest annually organises ‘samarasta bhoj or community feasts’, this was only the second occasion since Adityanath dined with dalits after becoming the chief minister on March 19, the first being in June.
That time the dinner at Dalit home had followed after caste violence in Saharanpur. This time it has come amid the likelihood of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party teaming up against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Several Dalit MPs of the BJP too had raised questions on their party’s handling of issues Dalits hold dear, including reservation for the Dalits.
“The chief minister is a monk. When he dines with Dalits, it helps convey the message about our intentions to build a casteless society,” a local RSS leader said.
First Published: Apr 24, 2018 13:58 IST