UP Polls: A nervous Amit Shah’s midnight meeting to placate Jats

A midnight meeting called by BJP president Amit Shah with a ‘non-political’ delegation of Jat leaders has set political circles abuzz. A rattled BJP is working overtime to win back the Jats

Photo by Ashok Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ashok Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


Midnight meetings are hardly unusual in Lutyen’s Delhi. Even more so at election time. But a midnight meeting at the residence of BJP national president Amit Shah earlier this week has created a buzz ahead of the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.

This is because Shah is reported to have insisted that he would meet a delegation of ‘non-political’ Jats to thrash out their grievances. Now why would the BJP president seek a meeting with ‘non-political’ community leaders to thrash out political issues?

While there are no answers coming from the BJP, to add to the intrigue, Shah invited the ‘non-political’ delegation barely hours after meeting with Jat community leaders at the residence of Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on Tuesday evening.

“Choose five or six people right now with no connection to BJP, Congress or RLD,” Shah said, “ and come over at any time that suits you—at 11 pm tonight or later or early tomorrow morning…” according to a Jat leader who was present.

What could Shah have wanted to discuss with the ‘non-political’ delegation barely a few hours after his meeting with a larger group of Jat leaders the same evening? Chaudhary Birendra Singh, disclosed this leader on condition of anonymity, had hosted a dinner that night and Shah suggested that the delegation could be finalised during the dinner.

Significantly, the very next day Press Trust of India (PTI) released a report referring to the meeting at the Union minister’s house. In Western UP, it reported, BJP was the best bet for Jats. A similar report was carried on Friday by The Times of India. Clearly a rattled BJP had pulled out all the stops to placate the Jats.

The meeting at the minister’s house itself , if eyewitness accounts are to be believed, was dramatic enough. All participants were asked to leave their mobile phones outside. And Shah declared that he was advised against attending the meeting lest a ‘Presswala’ recorded what he had to say and embarrass him.

Not all Jat leaders who were invited attended the meeting. But along with Shah, BJP ministers from Haryana, Captain Abhimanyu and OP Dhankar, were also present along with BJP Vice President Satpal Malik.


The community leaders who were in a belligerent mood are said to have put four posers to Amit Shah:

  • Why did the BJP back out on Reservation for Jats?
  • Why was the promised compensation not paid to the Jats who lost their lives and property during the Jat agitation in Haryana?
  • Why have the cases against Jats not been withdrawn yet?
  • Why did the PM and Shah who tweet on everyone and everything not utter a word on December 23, which happened to be Chaudhary Charan Singh’s birth anniversary?

It was in response to these grievances that the BJP president offered to meet the ‘non-political’ delegation later that night. He had also offered to summon union ministers to the meeting in order to settle the grievances.

Will these late attempts work? Ominously for Shah and BJP, Chaudhary Pushpendra Singh, National President of the Sanyukta Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti says they won’t. "BJP has gone back on its promise of giving OBC reservation to the Jats. Great atrocities were inflicted upon our brethren during Haryana reservation movement last February. Now it's our chance to settle scores. Riding on our shoulders BJP won 71 MPs in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in UP. This time we will not let BJP win even 71 MLAs in the UP assembly elections."

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Published: 10 Feb 2017, 12:53 PM