Northwest Delhi MP Udit Raj, who quit the BJP to join the Congress on Wednesday after being denied ticket, said staying “deaf and dumb” in his former party has its benefits and went on to add that had he “stayed quiet”, he could have been made the prime minister in future.
Addressing a press conference, Raj said the BJP had not even considered Ram Nath Kovind “good enough for giving him a ticket when he wanted it” and suggested that he was rewarded with the President’s post because he stayed quiet.
He claimed that on May 20, 2014, Kovind came to him and said “mera bhi kuch karayiye’ (get something done for me)”. Raj said Vivek Sonkar of the BJP’s SC/ST morcha is a witness to this.
Kovind was elected as President in 2017 after being nominated as NDA candidate.
Raj claimed that the BJP did not give him a ticket as he had spoken out in support of the Dalits who were protesting against the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“They (the BJP) had not even considered Kovind good enough for giving him a ticket when he wanted it. So, do you see the benefit of staying quiet, (one is made) President. If I would have stayed quiet, they could have made me the prime minister in future,” he said.
The BJP has replaced Raj from the North West Lok Sabha constituency with Punjabi Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans.
“I wanted to join the Congress since a long time and Rahul Gandhi knows this. I don’t lie. If BJP would have given me a ticket from there (northwest), I would have fought from there. But because of this (not being given ticket), a big thing has come out before the people that how anti-Dalit the BJP is,” he said.
“My mistake was that when the atrocities Act was changed, I was not deaf and dumb in the BJP. If one stays deaf and dumb in the BJP, that person can also be made the prime minister by them,” he said.
Raj was flanked by Delhi Pradesh Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, General Secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, and party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala at the presser.
Various surveys, including an internal survey of the BJP, had showed that his was the only seat (north-west), the party was winning clear cut, but still he was denied a ticket, he claimed.
Raj also slammed the BJP alleging it had not done anything for the Dalits during its five-year rule. “They are just indulging in propaganda and duping,” he said.
“I have raised SC/ST issues always and have gone against the government 10-15 times,” he claimed.
“They are asking for votes in the name of Dalits. They are claiming that they will make Dalits job givers. Under the Stand Up India, they introduced a provision that from a bank branch a Dalit and a woman will get loan so that they recruit people. But according to a survey only six per cent benefited from it,” he said.
The BJP government scrapped the 2,000 Rajiv Gandhi scholarships that SCs and STs used to get for higher education as it was started by the Congress, he alleged.
Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) that was given by Indira Gandhi was made part of budget so that the money to be spent on Scheduled Castes, could be used for other purposes, Raj claimed.
He also alleged that out of the Rs 490 crore designated for the ‘Dalit Hub’, Rs 72 crore has been spent on publicity, he said.
Raj also claimed that Dalits have got negligible benefits under the Mudra loans scheme.
“They want a deaf and dumb leader. I can’t be deaf and dumb and here also I will fight for Dalit rights,” he said.
“They (the BJP) hate the Dalits. If Dalits get to know, they will not give one vote to this party,” he claimed.