Although the President of India Ram Nath Kovind is a Dalit leader and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to OBC, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still considered as an upper-class party, particularly a Brahminical party. This issue is being discussed in the country after a Dalit leader Udit Raj was denied BJP ticket from the North West Delhi constituency, though he is a seating MP. Ram Nath Kovind is the first BJP member who became the President of the country. Similarly, Narendra Modi is the second Prime Minister from BJP and the party’s first OBC face to hold this prominent post. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a very popular leader. He was the first BJP leader who became the Prime Minister. However, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a Brahmin by caste.
Recently, responding to the #MainBhiChowkidar campaign of the ruling BJP, the party leader Subramaniam Swamy underlined his Brahminical status. He said that he could not be a Chowkidar given his Brahminical divinity. He was criticised for this remark. However, Swamy’s Brahmin pride shows the truth about BJP’s politics.
According to a survey last year, of the BJP’s 50 national office-bearers, 17 are Brahmins, 21 are from other forward castes, four are OBCs, three belong to the scheduled castes, two are scheduled tribes, two are from the Muslim community, and one is Sikh. Thus, 76 per cent of the party’s national office-bearers are upper castes, while only 8 per cent are OBCs, and 6 per cent are SC. Such is the poor representation of minorities in the BJP’s highest decision-making body, that of the three Dalits, one is the head of the party’s SC morcha, while of the two Muslims one is the chief of the minority morcha. The BJP was officially established on April 6, 1980. It emerged from the Jana Sangh, which was formed in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
RPI National Secretary Avinash Mahatekar asserted, “We have supported them for five years. I don’t know the reason why tickets have not been issued to the Dalit leaders. If tickets would’ve been allotted to Ramdas Athawale from any controversial seat, it wouldn’t have augured well for the party.”
The BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has been working hard to expand its footprint across the country; it is using social engineering to woo the so-called lower castes and capture voters who traditionally shunned the party. However, when it comes to its own organisational structure, the 39-year-old party continues to remain predominantly upper-caste, with a far less proportion of backward castes and negligible representation of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other minority communities.
BJP spokesperson Madhu Chavan said, “BJP has the maximum number of SC and OBC people’s representatives. A separate constitutional commission for the OBCs has been formed by the BJP government. Give me one example where you can say that BJP is against the Dalits! Why do you link castes with the election? Do you remember if ever Rahul Gandhi has spoken about flaws in Modi’s foreign policy, security policy, and defence policy? Why is there no debate on these issues? We have allotted Rajya Sabha seat and ministerial berth for Ramdas Athawale.”
It is worth mentioning that BJP on Tuesday denied the ticket of the Dalit leader Udit Raj and announced that singer Hans Raj Hans will contest the Lok Sabha polls from the North West Delhi constituency. On the other hand, Udit Raj, the sitting MP from the constituency, threatened to quit the party. Tuesday was the last day to file nominations for the seat, while voting in all seven seats of Delhi is on May 12. “I am waiting for a ticket, if not given to me, I will do goodbye to party,” Raj had tweeted. He said, “I merged my party in the BJP, crores of my supporters are worried over my ticket.” On Monday night, Raj’s supporters had staged a protest outside the Delhi BJP office. Udit Raj had merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP and contested the Lok Sabha elections from North West Delhi seat in 2014. Manoj Tiwari is Delhi BJP Chief and he is contesting from North-East Delhi.
Bhim Army Maharashtra president Ashok Kamble said, “BJP is using Dalit leaders to promote their selfish interest and later on they are denied tickets. Dalit and Muslim leaders in alliance with BJP are being denied tickets. Very few people are backing Udit Raj and Ramdas Athawale. They had used Dalits’ rights movement to meet their purpose.”
Earlier, the President of Republican Party of India (A) and Union Minister for Social Welfare Ramdas Athawale was interested to contest the Mumbai North-East Lok Sabha seat. However, BJP denied clearly. This seat went to BJP’s account under the coalition with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. While Athawale sought two Lok Sabha seats for his party, he could not get any.
Former Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh MLA Haribhau Bade said, “Dalits are denied entry in temples. BJP and Congress are indulging in caste-based politics. Both parties deny ticket to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates. They are only interested in winning polls. Dhangars and Koli community has been denied tickets.”