Caste Rears Its Head in Poll-Bound Madhya Pradesh, BJP Minister Booked For Speech
Health minister Rustam Singh, a former IPS officer, has been booked for violating the model code of conduct for trying to get votes in the name of caste.
Bhopal: A BJP minister has been booked for violating the model code of conduct in Madhya Pradesh for demanding votes based on caste. In a video that went viral on social media, health minister Rustam Singh, a former IPS officer, warned Gurjars to not be swayed and misguided.
“It is said about Gurjars that they listen to no one. If the water is flowing one way, they will swim against the current. But one should remember that going against me means to elect a Brahmin as MLA,” Singh says in his speech.
A senior Election Commission official said that a case has been registered at Noorbad police station in Morena district for violating the MCC and inciting enmity among communities.
Singh, a two-time MLA, has claimed that the video was taken at a meeting held before the model code of conduct came into effect. The IPS officer-turned-politician added that the BJP always seeks votes on the plank of development and that he would never promote casteism.
In another video making the rounds, agriculture minister Gauri Shankar Bisen can be seen saying, “Union minister Smriti Irani is my sister. I will be ordering 10,000 saris from Surat in Gujarat worth Rs 30 lakh and would distribute it across my region.”
The BJP MLA from the Balaghat seat then speaks of how he minted money from construction work in agriculture and at a medical college. He goes on to narrate what plans he has for the future – to contest the Lok Sabha elections, become a Union Minister and to rise above the stature of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
He then allegedly says that he would spend hundreds of crores on a theka (contract) to convince Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make him the Union agriculture of forest minister.
The video, which has been causing a lot of embarrassment to the BJP, was released by Samajwadi Party lawmaker Kankar Munjare. The Madhya Pradesh Aam Aadmi Party has lodged a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer and have submitting a copy of the video to the EC.
As Madhya Pradesh inches towards the polls, the ruling saffron party government lead by Shivraj Singh Chouhan is fighting an unexpected battle. The upper castes in the state have been up in arms over the Centre’s support to the SC/ST Act which out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/ST communities.
Over the last few months, several protest have been taken out opposing reservation and the promotion of government employees coming from the SC/ST communities. The anger has been palpable, and despite the chief minister’s poll promises from his 55-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra that was launched to cover all 230 assembly segments in the state, and there have been visible anger against the chief minister, central ministers who have visited the state, BJP MPs and MLAs. During Chouhan’s yatra, a shoe was hurled at him.
When the flames of the upper caste anger reached the chief minister’s residence, Chouhan, ahead of a protest to gherao his bungalow, took to Twitter to announce: “MP will not allow misuse of the SC/ST Act, no one will be arrested without an investigation.”
In fact, across the state, people can be seen wearing T-shirts that have “Hum hain mai ke lal” printed on them. This reference dates back to June 2016 when Chouhan had thundered: “Koi mai ka laal aarakshan khatam nahi kar sakta” (No one can end job quota).
The caste disquiet is very evident in Madhya Pradesh. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, during his last visit to Gwalior-Chambal region, which saw major caste violence during the April 2 Bharat Bandh (in which eight people six Dalits and two members of upper caste were killed in violent clashes) raised the issue of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide and spoke in length about the killings of Dalits in Gujarat while addressing a public rally in Datia.
Courtesy: The Wire