July 20th was a usual day for Indian Politics. The BJP’s vice president in Uttar Pradesh made a remark on Mayawati. He compared her to a prostitute. This remark sparked a riot among the politicians in the country and he faced multiple attacks in form of his remarks being labeled as sexist, cheap etc.
What the leader meant by his remark was that even a prostitute sells her service for a fee and the same goes for Mayawati, who sells the party ticket for a sum of money to whosoever quotes the highest price. It’s unquestionable that what the BJP’s VP for UP said isn’t expected from a person of this caliber and post. However the damage has been done and important question at this stage is whether what are the consequences going to be for the BJP?
The timing of the remark is pretty damaging for the BJP. With protests in Gujarat over beating of few Dalit men accused of cutting of the skin from a dead cow and with no police action in the case, the party is being labeled as anti-Dalit. Though there was some damage control by the party with the arrest of accused persons, but the steps taken to control the damage were given a blow by the party’s UP VP when he made his remark against the BSP politburo. To many Dalits, Mayawati isn’t just a leader but a God, because she is credited with uplifting their status in the society and much more. With the remarks made against her and the beating of the Dalits accused of killing the cow, BJP is caught in the cleft. It has to appease both, the upper caste Hindu’s by protecting the cow and the Dalits, by co-opting the Ambedkar’s ideology.
The effect of this scathing remark might be seen in the upcoming UP elections where the Dalit votes matter and with BJP is thought of as being an upper caste party. These remarks are further going to solidify the stereotype. Perhaps, the party is in disarray. This is clearly evident from the manner in which the party removed the VP from his post and then expelled him for 6 years from the party.
The party is left vulnerable from all sides. For instance, in the instant case the VP, Dayashankar Singh, a key Thakur leader of the BJP who was expected to garner votes in eastern UP; his removal has led to hostility towards the Dalits in UP, with the party keen to defuse the tension. However, such action has simply lead to antagonizing the Thakurs.
The treatment meted out to one of the most prominent Thakur leader by the BJP is not going to go down well with the upper caste community. In the eyes of upper caste voters, many think that what he said wasn’t something wrong. This is perhaps due to age old prejudices. Despite all one thing is certain, this will further dent the prospects of the BJP in the upcoming state elections.
Image has been taken from this link: http://images.indianexpress.com/2016/06/up-new-759.jpg
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