In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, Dr Yashwant Singh blamed the centre for not delivering on even one promise made to the Dalits in the last four years, adding that it was becoming difficult for the party lawmakers to respond to the community who were being harassed.
He urged PM Modi to take corrective steps and enact laws for quotas in promotion, introduce reservation in the private sector and fill the thousands of vacancies in posts reserved for scheduled castes.
The lawmaker's letter to PM Modi is seen as an indicator of the growing perception that the Dalit community, which had started responding to overtures from the BJP in recent years, was fast getting disillusioned.
That message appears to have reached the government, going by how PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have used every opportunity over the past week to reaffirm the party's commitment to Dalits.
At Friday's BJP parliamentary party meeting, all lawmakers were also told to reach out to the community in their respective constituencies and even spend two nights in Dalit-dominated villages closer to Ambedkar Jayanti observed later this month. Amit Shah has already re-started the practice of having lunch at a Dalit family during his two-day visit to Odisha.
Like Dr Yashwant Singh who had been a minister in Mayawati government between 2007 and 2012 and joined the BJP before the Lok Sabha election. Chhote Lal Kharwar, the Lok Sabha member from Robertsganj who complained about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had joined the BJP just in 2014.
Savitri Bai Phule, who has been one of the more vocal parliamentarians of the five, started her career with the Bahujan Samaj Party, or BSP. She joined the BJP ahead of the 2012 assembly polls and won the Bahraich seat in 2014
Ashok Kumar Dohrey, the lawmaker from Etawah, had dumped the BSP and joined the BJP in 2013. Udit Raj was a freelance Dalit leader trying to make his mark in Dalit politics after quitting the bureaucracy. He got a BJP ticket from Delhi in 2014 and won.
There already has been some unease in the BJP over the growing bonhomie between Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav's parties, the two arch rivals who partnered in the recent Lok Sabha by elections to defeat the BJP even in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's home turf, Gorakhpur.
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