Other States

Congress’ Jitin Prasada focuses on aggrieved Brahmin families in U.P.

Former minister touring State to help overturn party’s fortunes

In a bid to overturn its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress appears to be once again trying to woo the influential Brahmin community. Former Union Minister Jitin Prasada, who has often been projected as the party’s Brahmin face in the State, is touring U.P. to meet Brahmins who have lost their family members to murders or alleged custodial deaths in recent months.

While the party and Mr. Prasada have not overtly projected his visits as being focused on Brahmins, the names of the victims reveal a definite strategy.

‘Oppression, neglect’

Moreover, Mr. Prasada also attended a meeting of the Brahman Chetna Parishad, a Brahmin outfit, in Lucknow on November 22. The “oppression” and “neglect” [faced by the community] were discussed, Mr. Prasada tweeted.

On Sunday, Mr. Prasada met the family of student union leader Aditya Narain Tiwari ‘Kabir’ who was shot dead in Basti, while on Saturday he met the father of Satya Prakash Shukla, who died in police custody recently in Amethi. “He is a broken man, whose son died in police custody in Amethi. He deserves some answers and justice,” Mr. Prasada said, tweeting a picture of the meeting. Similarly, last week, he visited Mainpuri to meet the aggrieved family of Subash Pandey, whose daughter died under mysterious circumstances.

No label

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Prasada said he had identified at least a dozen such families be would visiting across U.P. He, however, was reluctant to label his visits as being focused on the Brahmin community, though he did not distance himself from the perception.

“I am not saying it [is Brahmin outreach]. People are saying it. I am no one to stop them. I am going everywhere possible, where I can highlight the voice of people who are not being heard,” Mr. Prasada said. “I am going to people where there has been an incident of [custodial] death or murder. And we can call it a coincidence that most of them are Brahmins.”

When asked if he was hinting that a particular community, the Brahmins, was being targeted under the Yogi Adityanath-led State government, Mr. Prasada said, “Certainly, the facts on the ground are.”

‘Highlighting cause’

“I want to highlight the cause by going there specifically; to ensure they are going to be heard; that the Congress party will take up the cause of those people who want justice, at every forum, be it on the ground or in Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha. Wherever possible and whichever avenue, we will not let it go until these people are satisfied,” Mr. Prasada said.

One of the families on Mr. Prasada’s list was Anand Swaroop Mishra, a petrol pump manager who was recently shot dead in Gorakhpur. Taking cognisance, Mr. Adityanath met Mr. Mishra’s family on Sunday and ordered an ex gratia compensation of ₹10 lakh to the family, while also directing the police to take harsh action against the culprits.

Mr. Prasada said the Adityanath government “has failed on the law and order front”.

‘Propaganda’

Bharatiya Janata Party U.P. spokesperson Chandramohan, however, dismissed Mr. Prasada’s Brahmin outreach and said “the Congress can only do propaganda”.

“Congress has always promoted casteism. It keeps searching for casteist politics. But their attempts won’t deliver any results. Nobody is going to fall in the Congress’ trap now,” Mr. Chandramohan said.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:38:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-jitin-prasada-focuses-on-aggrieved-brahmin-families-in-up/article30080379.ece

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