Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh may effectively be a year away, but the BJP has sprung its wheels in motion with an intention to replicate the success of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
And just like he was credited with scripting a historic performance in the general elections, the saffron party’s chief, Amit Shah, has taken it upon himself to ensure a BJP chief minister in Lucknow in 2017.
Dubbed as the BJP’s Chanakya, Shah was in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday addressing farmers’ rally in Allahabad. But, what came as a shocker was the lack of response to his rally.
According to reports, he was meant to stay in Allahabad overnight, but he left in a huff after crowds reportedly began to show disinterest in his speeche.
ABP News’ Uttar Pradesh correspondent reported, “As crowd fails to turn up for BJP rally,unhappy Amit Shah left for Varanasi in huff,he was supposed to stay tonight in Allahabad.”
As crowd fails to turn up for BJP rally,unhappy Amit Shah left for Varanasi in huff,he was supposed to stay tonight in Allahabad @abpnewstv
— Pankaj Jha (@pankajjha_) May 31, 2016
While in Varanasi, Shah decided to have a meal at a Dalit family’s house. Once again, the intention was clear. The party wanted to send a message to the all important Dalit voters; That its perceived image of being a party of upper caste was far from the truth.
Soon, the spin doctors of Shah carefully circulated a photo of Shah having a meal with Dalits on social media.
However, Shah’s PR team, appeared to have missed an obvious gaffe in the photo. But, the eagle-eyed social media users didn’t have to use a magnifying glass to spot what would cause another bout of embarrassment for Shah and his party in days or perhaps months to come.
In the photo (below) one of Shah’s lieutenants were seen picking up a bottle of mineral water, understandably for the ‘VIP’ guest at the venue.
— Rafique Ahmad® (@Rafique_MKD) May 31, 2016
And if that was not enough, the news also came in about Shah reportedly enjoying his meal with Dalit families in the comfort of a water-cooler, specially installed for the occasion.
Social media users, while pouncing on Shah for his alleged hypocrisy, also dug out an old tweet of Narendra Modi, who as Gujarat chief minister, had mocked Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi, when the latter visited a Dalit family to have a meal with them in 2014.
Modi in his tweet had described the act as poverty tourism.
— KilaFateh #INC (@KilaFateh) May 31, 2016
— Vinay Kumar Dokania (@vinaydokania) May 31, 2016
What???? Amit Shah eating in Dalit's house??? Will Baba Ramdev call it 'honeymoon' as he did for Rahul Gandhi?
— Scotchy (@scotchism) May 31, 2016
There were others who also spotted the use of newly purchased steel dishes for Shah.
New steel plates and mineral water! Amit Shah ji did you even take packed food along to be served at the so called dalit site?!? @HPCC_SC
— NG (@ng_dap) May 31, 2016
— Tussar Mohapatra#INC (@TussarJitu) May 31, 2016
TV channel aajtak par dekhe Amit shah Dalit ke Ghar bhojan kar rahe hia. Hatha se nahi chammach se. Menu bhi kisi Hotel se magaya gaya hia
— Madhu sudan Tripathi (@MadhusudanTrip1) May 31, 2016
And those criticising or detecting irony in Shah’s acts weren’t just confined to social media users.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, too were nimble-footed in slamming the BJP president.
Calling it a ‘nautanki(theatrics)’ Mayawati said, “The BJP can never be well-wishers of Dalits,”
Akhilesh said, “The results of the elections in Uttar Pradesh were for everyone to see. That is why we don’t indulge in such drama,”
According to the 2011 census, with 20.5% population, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of Dalits in the country.