Days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath courted a controversy by claiming that Lord Hanuman was a Dalit, a legal notice was served to him by Rajasthan Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha president Suresh Mishra. Mishra has alleged that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister called Lord Hanuman a Dalit merely for political benefit.
During a poll rally in Malakheda of Rajasthan's Alwar district on Tuesday, Adityanath said: "Bajrang Bali was a tribal, a forest dweller, a Dalit and was deprived. He worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west." He added that those who are Ram Bhakts would vote for the BJP while those who worship Ravana would vote for the Congress.
The statement drew strong criticism from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended Adityanath. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday alleged that the Chief Minister was playing politics over god.
"Tomorrow they will speak about Lord Ram, Krishna in the same manner. I don't think caste, gods and our respect for gods should be mixed up," Sibal told ANI.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon also opined that the remark was made with a view to attract Dalit votes. "It is purely with a view to attract Dalit votes. This kind of a statement dividing the society between Dalits and non-Dalits, Brahmins and non-Brahmins is not desirable and this does not fetch you votes. This would only cause damage to your reputation," Memon said.
BJP MP Udit Raj, on the other hand, said caste is being directly addressed because it influences election and voting pattern the most. "Yogi Adityanath ji kept his point straight while some have double standards in politics," he said.
The 200-member Rajasthan Assembly is scheduled to go to polls on December 7 and counting of votes will take place on December 11.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)