Yogi in damage control mode, to feast with dalits

Yogi in damage control mode, to feast with dalits
In an apparent damage control bid following attacks on the dalits by the dominant Thakur community members in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has decided to resort to 'lunch diplomacy' to win their support.

Adityanath, would be taking part in community feast in his native district of Gorakhpur with the members of the dalit community on Wednesday.

According to the sources here the chief minister will be unveiling a statue of dalit ideologue B.R. Ambedkar at Campereganj locality in the district before taking part in the feast. Sources said that thousands of dalits were likely to attend the feast on this occasion.

Adityanath's participation in the feast with dalits assumes significance in the wake of thakur-dalit clashes in Saharanpur that has claimed three lives. Several houses of the dalits were set ablaze in the district also. The arrest of the 'Bheem Army', a dalit outfit, founder Chandrashekhar, has also not gone down well with the community members.

The 'lunch diplomacy' also comes within a few days of alleged distribution of soaps, shampoos and perfumes among the members of 'Mushar' (a dalit community) community at a village in Kushinagar district before their scheduled meeting with the chief minister.

The report of soap and shampoo distribution evoked sharp criticism from the opposition parties, which accused the BJP of practicing ''untouchability'' and sought an apology from Adityanath.

BJP leaders here rejected assertions that the participation in the feast was intended to win the support of the dalits and a damage control exercise. ''Dalits supported us in the recent assembly polls....they are with the party even now,'' said a state BJP leader.

BSP, however, said that the dalits would not now be ''misled'' by the BJP. ''Dalits have seen the true face of the BJP...they do not feel safe under the BJP regime,'' said a senior state BSP leader here on Sunday.

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