After the Congress’ austerity drive, it is now the turn of the party’s Uttar Pradesh Dalit agenda to go down the tokenism route.
In a classic case of political symbolism gone wrong, a swarm of UP leaders descended on Dalit settlements across UP on Gandhi Jayanti in a bid to emulate Gandhi. But, unlike Gandhi, several of his present generation footsoldiers made sure they were not short of any amenities or conveniences. Some netas accompanied by big bands of chelas, went to the extent of hiring their own cooks, bringing food supplies and even disposable plates to dinner.
Kanpur MP and Union minister for coal Shri Prakash Jaiswal had a fun time in Dwarikapuri, a Dalit enclave, what with music, film show, meal rustled by professional caterers, generators and fans that were switched on at midnight when the entire area was plunged into darkness and a water tanker in attendance for the hosts as he turned to the mineral water bottle.
Mosquito nets were put in place for Pramod Tiwari in Pratapgarh, while thermocol and plastic plates were brought along by Annu Tandon. Also, people were made to wait for commando Kamal Kishore, the Bahraich MP and one-time bodyguard of Rajiv Gandhi, while he was eating dinner elsewhere.When Union minister Pradip Jain reached a Jhansi village after midnight, his supporters woke up every single resident as "mantriji had arrived".
Moradabad MP and former cricketer Azharuddin, brought his cooks along and had elaborate meals which included chicken biryani and kebabs. In fact, he snubbed his hosts by rejecting their food and refused to shake hands with the Dalit village elder. Witnesses said when the elder of Khadar village approached him to offer him a poori , the celebrated former batsman refused to allow him near while his supporters jostled him away.
As usual, congress mp’s made sure the the hardship they suffered during sleepover at Dalit homes didnot go unnoticed. Details like house number and villages that the leaders were to visit were announced to media in advance. Thus ensuring media cameras recorded and relayed their every action .
Former Indian cricket team captain and Moradabad MP Mohammed Azharuddin summed it up when he reportedly told newspersons in Rae Bareilly.
You would not be able to eat what we ate