On no other issue in the last seven and half years the BJP rank and file seem to be so defensive as this one.

Soroor Ahmed 

THE ruling Bharatiya Janata Party appears to have failed to read the latent anger of the Lakhimpur Kheri killings of October 3 last. If it did not mend its way at the earliest the party may have to pay the price in the coming Assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh and possibly even in neighbouring Uttarakhand.

What it is not realising is that the nature of this incident is totally different from any other happening. This is the one issue for which the saffron brigade can not accuse any rival political party or any other community or country. Neither can the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru nor the Mughals be blamed.

On no other issue in the last seven and half years the BJP rank and file seem to be so defensive as this one. After all how can the mowing down of four unarmed farmers by speeding vehicle allegedly driven by the son of Union minister of state for home affairs, Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni, be defended?

The disturbing video of the speeding Thar running over four Sikh farmers have left a deep mark in the psyche of the average persons, which includes many hardcore BJP supporters.

The arrogance of Ajay Mishra and his use of abusive language against journalists recently have further jeopardised the situation.

The top leadership of the party made a similar mistake which it committed during the year-long farmers’ movement. Instead of getting rid of Ajay Mishra and dropping him from the cabinet the BJP brass asked the party’s spokespersons and leaders to throw their weight behind the minister and his son, Ashish.

Nobody was prepared to listen to the saner voice within the party which were in favour of the immediate dismissal of minister. The argument of the central leadership was that Ajay Mishra was the only Brahmin minister from UP who was inducted in the Narendra Modi cabinet on July 7 rejig. The rest six ministers taken from UP on that day include four from the backward castes and two from Scheduled Castes. Two of the backward castes leaders made minister were from Kurmi caste. The third Kurmi made Union minister was R C P Singh who is originally from Bihar, but was a UP-cadre IAS officer.

What the BJP fear most is that the sacking of Ajay Mishra would turn away the Bahmin voters, who otherwise are not very satisfied with chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The Brahmins of the state feel that the Rajputs or Thakurs enjoy disproportionately high influence in the present regime. The BJP now apprehends that the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party may woo some of the disgruntled Brahmin voters.

The fact is that Brahmins are not such a fool that they would vote for the BJP simply because the party had not dropped Ajay Mishra from the cabinet even though his son had allegedly committed a heinous crime.

With the passage of every day the party is losing credibility compelling Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pay six visits of Uttar Pradesh since December 7 and two more trips are due next week. This exclude about half a dozen other trips to the state since July 15 when he first visited his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi (Banaras).

All these high-profile journey to UP were made in the capacity of the Prime Minister and as such not as the leader of the BJP. The election dates have not yet been announced and poll campaign has not started. In all these about dozen visits he had inaugurated schemes and projects worth thousands of crores. This frequent trips to the state are exposing the panic within the top echelon of the party and thus sending a wrong signal. Excessive attention to UP has the potential to become counter-productive, as it had happened in West Bengal last

Political murder is common and parties blame each other for it. But in the case of Lakhimpur Kheri the ruling party is unable to put its rival in the dock. In contrast everyone is seeking answer from the BJP and demanding action against Ajay Mishra as the victims are innocent farmers and not any politician.

After all in the last about 75 years of Indian democracy no Union minister has been so blindly defended by the party in power even though his son’s alleged crime has been caught in camera. Now the Special Investigation Team constituted by the Supreme Court too has put its stamp and called the killing of four farmers a planned conspiracy.