File photo of Sadhvi Savitri Bai Phule
Who is going to contest the Bahraich Lok Sabha seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? The seat is currently held by Sadhvi Savitri Bai Phule, a first time Dalit BJP MP who has become a headache for the party because of her unapologetic criticism of the party. Phule was outspoken about the BJP’s outreach towards the Dalits that largely consists of eating in Dalit homes. “Five-star food and services are offered to these BJP ministers in the houses of Dalits. Such food baithaks are an insult to the Dalit community,” she said in an interview recently. “The food is procured from outside and served by others. The venue is a Dalit house. If you really want to honour the Dalits, reach their homes unannounced and share their meals, even if it is roti and namak,” she remarked, referring to the UP Minister who got food cooked elsewhere and had it transported to Dalit homes. Well!
So conclave politics is back! In the last week of July, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is readying to hold a meeting of like-minded (read anti-BJP) Opposition parties, an exercise at which he is a pro because of extensive experience in the past. It was Naidu who did all the background work of getting opposition leaders together for his father-in-law, NT Rama Rao when the Telugu Desam Party government was toppled by the Congress. Interestingly, it is the very same Congress which is expecting an invitation to the opposition conclave he will be organising. “Unlike some, I won’t make tall claims but I will play a key role at the Centre after the 2019 elections,” he is reported to have said.