Brahmin community feels the U.P. govt. has been meting out a step motherly treatment to them, says Jitin Prasada

I visited many districts. Since the pandemic, we have been organising online meetings. From all these interactions, the feedback that I have received is an overwhelming feeling of resentment and insecurity, says senior Congress leader.

Member of the Congress Working Committee and senior leader from Uttar Pradesh, Jitin Prasada speaks to The Hindu on his recent claims about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s anti-Brahmin slant, construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya and the attrition rate in Congress party.

You have been in the news for your work with the Brahmin Chetna Parishad. Tell us about the reasons to start such an organisation?

I began the Brahmin Chetna Parishad in 2017. As part of the organisation we did several meetings across Uttar Pradesh. We have revived our efforts because over the past two years there has been a spate of “Brahmin killings” in Uttar Pradesh. Before the pandemic hit, I had taken out Brahmin Chetna Yatra as part of which I visited many districts, meeting the families of victims who are still struggling to get justice. Since the pandemic, we have been organising online meetings. From all these interactions, the feedback that I have received is an overwhelming feeling of resentment and insecurity. The Brahmin community feels that the present Uttar Pradesh government has been meting out a step-motherly treatment to them. The government has not given it’s due to the community, it is all tokenism, be it postings of officers or giving politically irrelevant portfolios to those from the community.

When you say that lately Brahmin killings are increasing are you saying that it’s a deliberate act, since Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath belongs to the Thakur community?

I will not go that far to say it is by design. The question is there is an impression that this government is anti-Brahmin and that perception is only growing. How is it that the victims of recent crime incidents are only Brahmins? The statistics speak for themselves.

Brahmins occupy the top most position in the caste hierarchy giving them an upper hand in every field. Why is there a sudden feeling of isolation?

Historically what you are saying is true, but I can tell you, in the past 30 years, there has been a steady decline. There is a huge section, who have been left far behind. The pyramid has now inverted. The community is politically marginalised and is economically weak.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone of Ram Temple on August 5. Is a celebration of the scale that is planned appropriate at the time of pandemic?

The Congress party has welcomed the construction of the Ram Temple. It is a matter of faith; more so personally for me. I am happy that Ram Temple is being constructed. Pandemic doesn’t mean that the country has come to stand still. I hope all necessary precautions will be taken during the event.

As a Minister in the UPA-II government, how do you react to the criticism that it was because of its functioning that the Congress was reduced to 44?

I wasn’t a part of the meeting of Rajya Sabha MPs with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, so how can I authoritatively give my opinion on a comment, which I can’t be sure was actually spoken or is a piece of fiction.

Out of your two close friends — Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot — one has already left the party and about the other we are still not clear whether he will remain in the Congress. Why this sudden attrition in the party?

I don’t know the reasons and I am sure it varies from case to case basis. You have to ask them the reasons for their actions.

Are you also leaving the party?

Has there been any meeting that I have supposedly attended or any anti-party activity or any statement given by me? I am not going to comment on speculation.

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