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2-min read

Was Sidelined in BJP Since April 2 Bharat Bandh, Says Ashok Dohrey After Joining Cong

On the question of what brought him to the Congress, Dohrey said he wanted to join the grand old party because he felt it worked for the interests of all communities.

Suhas Munshi | News18.com

Updated:March 29, 2019, 5:06 PM IST
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Was Sidelined in BJP Since April 2 Bharat Bandh, Says Ashok Dohrey After Joining Cong
Ashok Dohrey was the third Dalit MP who had written to the PM against the manner in which police had dealt with the April 2 protests. (Photo credit: @INCIndia)
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New Delhi: Talking about his displeasure with the BJP, on whose ticket he had won the Etawah parliamentary seat in 2014, Ashok Dohrey, who joined the Congress on Friday, said he was sidelined from the party because of his strong objections to the state's handling of Bharat Bandh protests last year.

Dohrey, while talking to News18, said that after he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the manner in which Dalits, who had took part in protests during last year’s Bharat Bandh on April 2, were beaten up and harrassed by police, anger built up against him within the party's rank and file.

"Gradually I felt sidelined. There were programmes that we had organised as a party for election campaigns, but I saw only my photo being dropped from hoardings. I felt a sense of being pushed out. Hence, there was no point in carrying on," said Dohrey.

On the question of what brought him to the Congress, Dohrey said, “All communities should be respected. I wanted to join the Congress because it is a party that works for the interests of all communities."

Dohrey said he had raised questions on the manner in which police had acted mercilessly against Dalit protestors but to no avail.

"Tell me, do protestors kill protestors? Who killed 14-15 people last year? I have videos with me which showed the manner in which police verbally abused the protestors and beat them up. I raised the matter with the tallest leaders within my party. But no action was taken,” Dohrey said.

He was the third Dalit MP who had written to the Prime Minister protesting the manner in which police had dealt with the April 2 protests.

In his letter, Dohrey alleged that in response to the Bharat Band rally, the state police framed Dalits in baseless cases.

The first BJP leader to raise concern on the issue was Bahraich MP Savitribai Phule, who recently herself joined the Congress and has been actively campaigning for the party along with senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi.

Asked whether, after Phule and him, other Dalit leaders from within the BJP were also considering switching over, Dohrey refused to comment.

He also did not answer the question on whether he would have a larger role in the party's campaign in Uttar Pradesh and beyond.

The Congress has fielded Dohrey from the Etawah reserved seat, and he will take on the BJP’s Ramshankar Katheria.

Katheria, who is now represents Agra in the Lok Sabha, is also the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

In 2014, Dohrey had won from Etawah with about 4.39 lakh votes, while the Samajwadi Party candidate was the runner-up with 2.66 lakh votes. The Congress nominee had polled just 13,000 votes.
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