March 24, 2023

shah: Amit Shah woos west UP Jat leaders ahead of assembly elections | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Anxious to assuage the sullenness of sections of the Jat community in Western UP, Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday wooed a group of community influencers by stressing similarity of “nationalist” outlook, recalling communal riots of 2013 and promising resolution of their grievances and consideration of demands.
“We subscribe to same ideology. Ours is a nationalist party and has always striven to secure nation. You have the same outlook and have the maximum representation in the armed forces. Just like you, nation’s interests have always been the top-most priority with us,” Shah told representatives of the Jat community as the battle for Western UP reaches the final stretch.
The meeting happened against the backdrop of party’s anxiety to mollify the Jat community whose support was one of the key factors in its sweep in three straight elections, beginning with 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The resentment of the influential peasant caste over the now-repealed farm laws and the move of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BJP’s principal challenger to cash in on that by tying up with the community outfit, Rashtriya Lok Dal, represents a vulnerability in BJP’s plan for a repeat performance.
According to sources, Shah, who was instrumental in enlisting the support of the community in the three previous contests, took note of the resentment, but argued that these were matters to be sorted out within the family and there was no need to involve “outsiders”.
Shah also criticised Jayant Chaudhary, head of RLD, essentially a Jat outfit, for aligning with Samajwadi Party, saying that in an SP-led dispensation, he will end up playing subordinate to Azam Khan, the SP leader and an influential minister in the Akhilesh government who many have blamed for the “biased” handling of the communal riots of 2013.
“You have supported us wholeheartedly and you have every right to vent ire against us. My doors are always open for you. Come and sit with me and I assure you of my full support. However, you should not involve others and, instead, seek to sort out the issues among ourselves,” sources quoted the home minister telling the attendees at the in-camera meeting held at the residence of Outer Delhi MP, Pravesh Varma, son of former Delhi CM Sahib Singh Varma.
Around 250 members of Jat community from different backgrounds, including politicians, traders, businessmen, farmers and community representatives, took part in the “panchayat baithak”, which was attended by education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in-charge of UP campaign, important Jat MPs from Western UP, Sanjiv Balyan and Satyapal Singh and former Haryana minister Captain Abhimanyu Singh.
The participants raised demands like a better scheme of sugarcane support price, community quota and appropriate recognition for former PM and community icon Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Shah, who was introduced as “Chaudhary” — a community honorific — said that while BJP liked Jayant Chaudhary, fact remains he had made a “wrong call” by partnering Akhilesh Yadav.
Shah gave an assurance to look into the “grievances” of the community and live by the promises the party has made to the community “as it had done in the past”. “Today is a special day as it was on 26th January when the country enacted its Constitution and I have come to meet you today. I had met you in 2013 and you helped BJP form the government at the Centre in 2014. Your support was instrumental in government formation in 2017 (UP) and 2019 (Centre) too. Whenever we sought the support of the Jat community, they extended their support to us wholeheartedly,” the home minister said in his brief address.
Shah said that he had launched his pan-India political innings from Uttar Pradesh and was overwhelmed at the support extended by the Jat community. “Jat community always thinks about the growth of the state and prosperity of the farmers as does BJP. Besides, the OROP (One Rank One Pension) was enacted by BJP,” Shah said.
Some of the community leaders carried their ‘Hukkas’ and smoked in the lawns of the 20 Windsor Palace, the bungalow of Parvesh Varma, while a few carried plough replicas and gifted them to Shah.
The dais had a ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ banner in the backdrop, while Shah donned a turban sharing space with the community figures.

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