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Brahmins back in focus as UP readies for polls

Thursday, 10 June 2021 | Biswajeet Banerjee | Lucknow

Jitin Prasada’s entry into BJP, another Brahmin as EC to soothe community’s feelings in UP

With Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh just seven months away, the contour of caste politics has started taking shape with focus now on Brahmins, who account for almost 10 per cent of the vote in this politically sensitive State.

Two important developments happened on Wednesday. One, former Union Minister and two-time former MP Jitin Prasada joined the BJP. Second, a retired IAS officer of 1984 batch of UP cadre Anoop Chandra Pandey joined as Election Commissioner. Both are Brahmins.

When Jitin was in the Congress, he had launched Brahmin Chetna Parishad in 2020, an umbrella organisation that had given a voice to the Brahmins in central UP. Then he talked about persecution of Brahmins in the Yogi Raj. With his joining the BJP, the saffron party can now go to the town claiming that Brahmins are still with the ruling party.  

Prasada, who represented Shahjahanpur Lok Sabha Constituency in UP in 2004, joined the BJP at party headquarters here in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday.

“I felt the party I was in was not helping and working for people. I realised I cannot work for people being in the Congress party. What is the relevance of staying in a party if you can’t protect interests of your people or work for them. I thank people in the Congress who blessed me all these years but now I’ll work as a dedicated BJP worker,” said Prasada after joining the BJP.

Anoop Chandra Pandey, on the other hand, was the Chief Secretary in Yogi’s initial term and had successfully organised Investors’ Summit. His performance was even appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It is no longer a secret that Brahmins are upset with the BJP and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for dominance of Thakurs in every sphere of Government administration, particularly at the lower level.

Appointment of Sanjay Srinet, another Thakur, as Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Public  Service Commission, intensified the “save Brahmin” campaign in the political sphere.

The centre of this Brahmin politics is Bikaru village, the infamous village of gangster Vikas Dubey, who killed eight police men and later died in a mysterious encounter when he was being brought from Ujjain to Kanpur. Leaders from different political hues are now demanding release of women from Dubey’s family who are in police custody.

“Police should release four innocent women and a two- and- a -half year old child who are perishing in the jail in the Bikru incident,” senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

He alleged slain gangster Amar Dubey’s wife, Khushi Dubey, her mother Kshama Dubey, Heeru Dubey’s mother Shanti Dubey and maid Rekha Agnihotri and her toddler son were in jail in Bikru incident.

“It is a politics of vengeance and it should be stopped. The Yogi Adityanath Government is at the peak of its highhandedness. The Government is working on three agendas — hatred, ill feeling and vengeance,” he said.

The words he used were precise. The words like ill-feeling and vengeance is what Brahmins are talking about. A section of Brahmin leaders, even in the BJP, say that Vikas Dubey was a criminal and was killed but what is the crime of these women. “One of the women Khushi Dubey was married to Amar just three days before Amar was gunned down,” Umesh Dwivedi, a BJP MLC said.

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