Disquiet in Uttar Pradesh BJP over PM-Yogi’s handling of Kheri carnage
BJP leaders in UP are concerned over the fallout of Lakhimpur Kheri on the party's electoral prospects. Privately they concede that the decision to brazen it out may have already been costly
There is growing discontent within the state BJP over the state government's mishandling of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. The incident has caused outrage across the country and prompted the Supreme Court to take up the issue on its own. While party leaders anxiously wait for the developments in Supreme Court on Thursday, many of them believe the damage has already been done.
“At the very outset and in the aftermath of the incident, the union minister of state for Home should have been asked to put in his papers and his son should have been arrested. That would have sent a positive message across the country that Yogi government was following Raj Dharma,” a senior BJP leader told this reporter.
He was joined by others in saying that prompt action would have conveyed the message loud and clear that there still is Rule of Law or `kanoon ka raj’ in Uttar Pradesh.
A minister in the Yogi government said that after video clips emerged in which a Mahindra Thar was seen ploughing through a group of farmers from behind, there was no option but to take prompt action against the guilty. “These visuals were shocking. They will stir the conscience of any sensible person,” the minister said.
He further said that when the FIR says that the minister's son was sitting in the car that mowed the people, what is preventing the police from taking action against the guilty.
The Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra `Teni’ has however denied that his son was present at the scene. He had told a TV channel that a few farmers pelted stones at the convoy of the car following which the driver lost control and ran over a few farmers. Video clips clearly call his bluff and show that the farmers were returning with their flags and there was no provocation from them when the convoy of three cars ploughed through them.
There was however unanimity among the leaders that it was the caste of the Minister that had prevented party leadership from taking action against the minister and his son. Mishra was inducted into the Modi cabinet on July 7, 2021 as the Brahmin face of the party after a hue and cry was raised that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was pro-Thakur and Brahmins were getting alienated in this government.
“The government finds itself in a catch-22 situation. It earned the wrath of Brahmins after the Bikaru incident in which Vikas Dubey, a criminal was killed in an encounter and his family members were arrested. People say that Vikas Dubey was killed in a fake encounter even after he surrendered in Ujjain because he was a Brahmin,” a leader said.
“There is fear that if the minister is asked to quit and his son arrested this may send a wrong signal to the Brahmins. But if he is not arrested the opposition and judiciary would question the working of the government,” he said.
Another section of BJP leaders say that action should also be taken against the people who lynched four BJP workers and a journalist. There cannot be two sets of law. If a person was wrong in crushing people under the wheels of his cars, others were also wrong when they lynched four people and a journalist, they said.