Jaipur: Bharatiya Janata Party’s saffron mascot Yogi Adityanath dragged the "caste" of Lord Hanuman into the poll slugfest in Rajasthan to seek Dalit votes on Wednesday.
The UP chief minister, known for his polarising speeches, said that Hanuman was a Dalit tribal as he appealed to those belonging to his caste to vote for the candidate fielded by the BJP from Alwar.
“Hanuman was a tribal, a forest dweller and was deprived. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west. This was his resolve as it was Lord Ram’s wish. Just like him, we should also not rest till we fulfil that wish,” Adityanath said during a poll rally in Malpura constituency.
The firebrand leader, one of the BJP’s star campaigners in the state, then directed his divisive diatribe at the Congress and said while all ‘Ram-bhakts’ would vote for the saffron party, only those who pray to Ravana would vote for the Congress.
He has been increasingly invoking the name of Lord Ram in poll-bound states amid the growing clamour from Hindu outfits and some BJP leaders to start the construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Analysts see this as BJP’s two-pronged strategy to appeal to a wide base of voters - Adityanath is employed to reinforce Hindutva narrative while Prime Minister Narendra Modi projects himself as the man for development.
This is not the first time that Adityanath has tried to use Hanuman to seek votes. Earlier this month too, he had claimed that he was a Dalit tribal as he sought to forge a direct connection with voters in tribal dominated state of Chhattisgarh.
“Hunuman sabse bade adivasi hain, vanvasi hain...," Yogi had said in the state, adding, "When Lord Ram was on vanvaas, he helped the local tribals from the terror of demons. Just like Ram did in Treta Yug, the BJP is also aiming to bring Ram Rajya in the state."