Dalit Youth Only Want Respect and Social Acceptance, Says Congress Party’s ‘Youngest’ Lok Sabha Nominee
Devashish Jarariya, a former BSP leader, who often takes part in television debates, joined the grand old party last year and has been named the party’s nominee from Bhind.
Congress' Bhind candidate Devashish Jarariya on campaign trail. (Credit: Facebook)
Bhopal: A popular young Dalit face, a student leader and a suave, tech-savvy politician: all these aptly describe the Congress’ 28-year-old candidate from the Bhind Lok Sabha seat, Devashish Jarariya.
The former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader, who often takes part in television debates, joined the grand old party last year and has been named the party’s nominee from an under-developed pocket in the Gwalior region.
Jarariya, the youngest Congress candidate this general election, by his own admission, hails from Gwalior’s Thatipur area and now resides in Mela ground locality.
After completing his schooling in Gwalior from Ramkrishna Vidya Mandir Gwalior, he pursued computer engineering from UIT, Rajiv Gandhi Technical University Bhopal.
A technocrat, Jarariya remains active on social media platforms, including Facebook where he has a page of his own and two accounts and Twitter where he has over 32,000 followers and posts regularly.
He is credited with adding over six lakh youths to the BSP fold in the past.
“This was the reason fake complaints were lodged against me and I was expelled from the party as leaders were apprehensive of my increasing ground connect,” Devashish told News18 over the phone.
Asked what were the aspirations of today’s Dalit youth, Jarariya claimed there had been a significant awakening among members of the community over the last few years. “All that the Dalit youth want is respect and acceptance in society,” he added.
When asked about social polarisation in the Gwalior-Chambal region with reference to last year’s violence over the SC/ST Act, Jarariya said it was only an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to divide and rule.
“The BJP only wanted to distract attention from real issues by causing a social rift,” said the Congress leader, adding this also led to the saffron party’s rout in the assembly elections in the region.
Regarding allegations that he had played a significant role in the violence on April 2 during the Dalit “mahabandh” in Gwalior region, Jarariya said there was no case or FIR against him anywhere.
“I was not even present in Gwalior, but in New Delhi the entire period where I put out my views responsibly on TV debates,” he said, while challenging his accusers to furnish evidence.
About charges that he was part of the ‘anti-national’ JNU brigade, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Jarariya said was a student of Delhi University (DU) and by virtue of his involvement in student politics, knew Kumar, Jignesh Mevani and others, but he was never a part of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) or its student union.
“For that matter, BJP spokespersons like Sambit Patra and Gaurav Bhatia are also my good friends,” said the DU second-year law student.
He exuded confidence that every section of society in Bhind would support him as he was also associated with the district where he spent his childhood days.
Thanking Congress Rahul Gandhi for keeping faith in him, he said a new kind of politics was being initiated from Bhind through a young politician like him who had no power of money or any political background and came from a humble middle-class family.
“I am a follower of Bhimrao Ambedkar and believe in an equal society with humanitarian values,” Jarariya said.
Lashing out at the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), he said party chief Mayawati became the Uttar Pradesh chief minister four times, but only centralised power without offering any chance to young leaders to grow and this had disenchanted Dalit youths with this party.
“The Congress has emerged a potent force which has shown it’s willingness to give Dalit youths sufficient space and representation,” Jarariya said.
Bhind an SC-reserved seat has been in the possession of the BJP since 1989.
However, the seat where the caste factor rules the roost and is an integral social component won’t be an easy challenge for the young leader who is often likened to Jignesh Mevani, a popular Dalit leader in Gujarat.
Jarariya, however, has his electoral math ready. “Of the eight Assembly seats that fall under this Lok Sabha seats, five were won by the Congress and two by the BJP, in 2018. Hence, I have a clear edge,” the budding politician said.
Would Jarariya be able to justify the Congress’ decision to field him instead of BJP’s former MP Ashok Argal, who was reportedly willing to switch over if given a ticket and was being dubbed as a “consensus candidate”? We’ll know on May 23 when the results will be declared.
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