Hathras, Balrampur, Azamgarh, Bulandshahr, Kanpur — as the list of crime against Dalit women gets longer in Uttar Pradesh, BJP leaders in the state are worried over the impact this might have on the upcoming by-elections on seven assembly seats where polling is due on November 3.
The party strategists are now putting their heads together to counter the anti-Dalit narrative that is being run by the opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“This is actually a conspiracy against the Yogi Adityanath government by people with vested interests. The cyber cell has registered an FIR after investigations pointed towards a conspiracy to malign the Yogi government and provoke caste violence.
“The social media has been used to conspire and spread canards and we have proof of the involvement of outfits like PFI and SDPI. Some mafia dons who are being targeted by the Yogi government are supporting this campaign with money,” said a government spokesman.
He said that “false reports of the victim being raped, her tongue being cut and other mutilations were a part of this conspiracy in which some verified accounts on social media were used”.
While the government is probing the conspiracy angle, the party is concerned about the social impact of the incidents since victims are mainly Dalits.
Valmikis, who had supported the BJP in 2017 and 2019 elections, are now out on the streets protesting against the alleged “insensitive attitude of the BJP government and its officials in dealing with the gang rape and murder case of a Valmiki girl of Hathras”.
The active interest being taken in the incidents by Bahujan Samaj Party and Bhim Army, which is leading from the front, has caused worry in BJP circles.
A senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary said that the BJP had gone out of its way to ensure ‘Samajik Samarasta’ (social harmony) and this had brought Dalits into the party mainstream.
He admitted that some administrative decisions taken by the officials in the Yogi governmenta “mainly, the cremation of the victim’s body in the dead of the night without the familya” had caused an unpleasant situation for the party.
“We will have to deal with the situation in a sensitive manner so that the opposition cannot exploit it. We will need to reach out to Dalits and other weaker sections before others mislead them further,” he said.
The BJP will now ask legislators to fan out in their respective constituencies and interact with members of Dalit communities and explain the actual position in the incidents and also the action taken by the state government.
“Groups of legislators will go to the constituencies where by-elections are to be held on November 3 and hold meetings with the local people (Dalits). We will also explain the conspiracy angle to the people and tell them that the party and the government committed to protecting their rights,” senior BJP office-bearer.
Incidentally, the BJP is also facing the anger of upper castes who feel that their members are being falsely implicated in crimes against Dalits. These upper castes have even held a series of panchayats on this issue.