A day after courting controversy for her comments on party leaders visiting Dalit households, Uttar Pradesh BJP Minister Anupama Jaiswal is in news again for all the wrong reasons. The school children in Bahraich were allegedly kept hungry and made to sit for 8 hours before her arrival. Reacting to the controversy, Jaiswal said that concerned teachers are responsible for trouble faced by children. “I don’t know why children were seated 8 hours in advance, concerned teachers are answerable,” Jaiswal was quoted as saying by ANI.
On Friday, Jaiswal courted a controversy when she defended BJP leaders visiting homes of Dalits, saying that they brave “mosquito bites the whole night”, but still go there to make the community aware about government welfare schemes.
Jaiswal, who is Basic Education Minister in Yogi Adityanath government, had said, “the ministers are visiting villages to ensure the benefits of government schemes reached the needy. They have to face mosquito bites the whole night, still they visit the villages.” Jaiswal’s remarks came amidst criticism of the BJP’s outreach programme by the opposition and some BJP leaders.
Jaiswal’s comments brought major embarrassment for the BJP, as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and some BJP leaders, including MP Udit Raj, were already criticising party’s move to reach out to Dalits in this manner.
On Friday, Raj, a party MP from Delhi, had said the outreach programme would not bring any electoral gains, rather it would make Dalits feel “inferior”. “Having nightstay and food at houses of Dalits neither empowers the Dalit families nor benefits the politicians, Rahul Gandhi is a live example of it,” Raj had said.
Raj’s comments and Jaiswal’s defence came in the backdrop of a controversy which erupted after UP minister Suresh Rana reportedly brought with him his own food and water at an inner hosted at a Dalit household in Aligarh.
However, Rana later rejected the allegation, saying, “the food was prepared in the village, by the villagers themselves.” The person, who was allegedly the host for Rana, claimed that the leaders came to his house uninvited.