Daughter’s marriage row: Dalit MLA springs to defence of Brahmin lawmaker
A Dalit MLA of the BJP on Saturday took to social media to defend his Brahmin colleague Rajesh Mishra, who was heavily trolled ever since his daughter Sakshi Mishra put out a series of videos accusing him of being casteist, engaging in gender discrimination and of sending goons after her and her Dalit husband. She claimed she feared for her and her husband’s life because her Brahmin family was opposed to her marriage with a Dalit.
The development came even as Sakshi Mishra continued to be in demand among 24x7 news channels for her ‘papa-out-to-kill-me’ viral video message that was posted after her marriage with the Dalit man, Ajitesh Kumar.
Shyam Prakash, the lawmaker from Gopamau (reserved) assembly segment in Hardoi, told HT on the phone: “In TV debates, many are holding the MLA guilty on the issue of his daughter marrying a Dalit. Let’s see, how they react when their own daughter elopes with a Dalit of questionable conduct. Then, they will realise a father’s pain and the embarrassment one suffers in society,” He also put up a Facebook post slamming Rajesh’s critics.
The outrage that Sakshi directed at her father through her videos came at a time when the BJP is making efforts to project a pro-Dalit image in UP, where Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes account for 23% of the state’s population. “It was a private matter, but it really snowballed,” a party MLA said.
After consulting the BJP leadership, Rajesh Mishra hurriedly put out a written clarification saying his daughter was free to take her own decision and pleading that he be “left alone”.
Sakshi and Ajitesh have moved the Allahabad high court seeking security.
The BJP is currently in the middle of a membership drive in which it is focusing on increasing its support base among OBCs and dalits.
“Everyone is free to marry anyone, but now when her father agreed to her marriage why has she continued to humiliate him still? Moreover, fresh details are now emerging about the youth, who according to media reports had broken an engagement, and is being accused of being of questionable conduct. Tell me, irrespective of whether the accusations are right or wrong, which father on earth would consent to such a relationship? Still, he has and yet he is being targeted. Is it fair,” an upper caste lawmaker of the BJP asked.
While many upper caste leaders like him spoke on condition of anonymity, a Dalit lawmaker openly sided with his party’s beleaguered Brahmin MLA, who reportedly broke down while apprising the party leadership of the details of the case.
“The entire community should come together to oppose the Dalit youth who has besmirched the community’s reputation by cheating a family whose house he frequented and misused the trust. Now, even the same media carrying out a trial has started showing details of youth’s past,” Shyam Prakash said.
It’s not clear if he had the party’s consent to air his views even as news channels continued to play out the family drama in their studios by getting all the stake holders in the love story to join in.
“I don’t want to say anything. Please spare me. My family and I are in tremendous stress,” Rajesh Mishra said on the phone.
According to people close to the family, the couple eloped on July 1 from Bareilly and went to Pragyaraj. They go married as per Hindu traditions there on July 4. The MLA and his aides, who were on lookout for them since they eloped, tracked them till Prayagraj but failed to locate them there. The couple is currently living in hiding.