BJP Dalit MP quits ‘di­vi­sive’ party

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THE BJP suf­fered twin set­backs Thurs­day as its Dalit MP Sav­it­ribai Phule quit the party, ac­cus­ing it of prac­tis­ing di­vi­sive pol­i­tics while its ally Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief and Union minister Upen­dra Kush­waha ap­peared set to sever the ties by declar­ing a war on the rul­ing NDA al­liance.

At an open ses­sion of the party in the Bi­har town Moti­hari, Kush­waha made a scathing at­tack on the BJP and quoted from poet Ramd­hari Singh Dinkar's work ‘Rash­mi­rathi’ the words of Lord Kr­ishna ad­dressed to Dury­o­d­hana: “Since ges­ture of friend­ship has been spurned, I am an­nounc­ing the fi­nal re­solve that hence­forth, there would be no more sup­pli­ca­tion but a war. He, how­ever, stopped short of an­nounc­ing a breakup with the BJP-led NDA. I have cat­e­gor­i­cally said it is a war. What more do you ex­pect me to say?” he told re­porters when asked if he would break his al­liance with the BJP. He also charged Ni­tish Ku­mar's gov­ern­ment in the state with fail­ure on all fronts. Kush­waha has of­ten made pub­lic his un­hap­pi­ness over the seat­shar­ing ar­range­ment for the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP and the JD(U) of­fered the RLSP just two seats of the to­tal 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bi­har. Kush­waha had said that the num­ber of seats the party was of­fered was not re­spectable and asked the BJP to do a re­think by Novem­ber 30.

The BJP is of the view that his de­par­ture, if it does hap­pen, from its al­liance will be more than com­pen­sated by Bi­har Chief Minister Ni­tish Ku­marled Janata Dal (United), which had fought against the NDA in 2014 but joined it last year.

In Lucknow, the an­nounce­ment by Phule of quit­ting the BJP was on ex­pected lines as she had been at­tack­ing the party from sev­eral months. How­ever, her Dalit back­ground cou­pled with his tren­chant crit­i­cism of the BJP on is­sues con­cern­ing the Sched­uled Castes, a com­mu­nity the party has been woo­ing, may hurt it in a state where a likely al­liance of the Sa­ma­jwadi Party and Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party threat­ens to de­rail its prospect.

Sav­it­ribai Phule.

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