New Delhi: Accusing BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav of appeasement politics in the run-up to the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, said the BJP has worked to fulfill B.R. Ambedkar’s mission of uplifting the Dalit community.
A Dalit MP from the Mohanlalganj constituency in Lucknow, Kishore said the BJP will campaign under the slogan ‘Jai Ambedkar’ rather than ‘Jai Bheem’ since the former is more inclusive and not related to any party.
“They keep chanting ‘Jai Bheem‘ and asking people to vote on caste lines. She (Mayawati) says ‘Jai Bheem’ but has nothing to do with his ideas. They just want to achieve power. Dr Ambedkar was against caste but Jai Bheem has been reduced to being a slogan of a particular party,” Kishore noted in an interview with ThePrint.
“BJP works on the concept of ‘sabka saath, sabka vishwas’, and we will ensure the welfare of the Dalit community. I come from a Dalit family and I have been made a minister. This is the kind of importance the BJP gives to the community,” the BJP MP said.
He noted that unlike the BJP that works for all, the BSP has started conducting Brahmin conclaves only to garner votes.
“Both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have been making grand promises but it is our Modi government that has provided 27 per cent reservation to OBC students in NEET exams. Similarly, our housing schemes, Ujjawala scheme (for LPG connection) have benefited lakhs of Dalit families. We don’t make empty promises,” he added.
Kishore further noted that all MPs will also visit ration shops to check on distribution of ration and to assess if improvements are required in the system.
BJP to strengthen welfare work
Elaborating on the BJP’s efforts in the state, Kishore also talked about strengthening the party’s welfare work, especially in the event of a third Covid wave.
“We have also started preparation in case there is a third wave and will further strengthen our ‘Seva he Sangathan’ programme. JP Nadda ji has also asked us to concentrate on the ‘Apna booth Corona mukt’ campaign,” he said.
As part of the party’s outreach programme in UP, the BJP MP will also undertake a ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ that will cover three to four parliamentary constituencies, including his own, to spread awareness about the government’s welfare measures.
“After August 15, I will undertake the Yatra. I will pass through the capital Lucknow including Unnao, Rae Bareli, Barabanki and Sitapur districts and their respective assembly constituencies under the Jan Ashirwad Yatra. The idea is to inform the people about the various schemes of the Modi and Yogi government, the welfare measures that have been taken by the government,” he said.
Kishore also spoke about how villages in the state have been getting adequate electricity under the BJP government.
“Earlier many villages used to get electricity for 8 hours but during our tenure we have ensured that villages get at least 18 hours of electricity. Voting for the Samajwadi Party would bring back that same era of darkness,” he said.
“As far as Uttar Pradesh elections are concerned we are going to come back with a bigger majority. We are sure that the people will not make the mistake of opting for the SP and BSP that looks at them as a vote-bank only,” the MP added.
Kishore, a second-term MP, was earlier with the Samajwadi Party and joined the BJP in 2014. He had served as a minister of state in the Mulayam Singh Yadav cabinet from 2002 to 2007.
The recently-appointed minister comes from the the Pasi community that the BJP has been trying to woo since it is a non-Jatav Dalit caste. The Jatavs have usually voted for the BSP.
He was appointed as a Union minister in the recent reshuffle of Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Of the 43 ministers appointed, seven are from UP and of them, three each belong to OBC and SC categories and one is Brahmin.
(Edited by Rachel John)