At a time when ending casteism is on the agenda of most parties, BJP candidate Rajvir Diler is a true exception. While canvassing for votes, Diler, who is belongs to the Dalit community, and is contesting elections from Iglas, Uttar Pradesh sits on the floor while visitings homes of upper-caste voters and even carries his own glass for tea, as per a report in The Times of India. Other candidates in the reserved constituency also have to show deference to the upper-caste voters, the report says.
Despite being a reserved constituency, the large number of Jat voters on the electoral roll can influence the outcome of the election and hence Diler has chosen to follow this practice. He carries a steel glass with him so that if tea is served at an upper-caste voter’s house, their utensils do not get “impure”. This despite the fact that his father Kisen Lal is also a politician. Lal served five terms as an MLA and has also been an MP.
The newspaper report further says that Diler had to touch the feet of a Jat pradhan much younger to him because he controls around 4500 Jat votes. Caste hierarchy is also prevalent in Diler’s private space. When riding his Bolero, he sits on the front seat, while the middle seats are occupied by a Brahmin and a Jat. The last-row seats are meant for people from the most backward caste.
Leaders like Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi, who belong to the upper caste, are seldom shy of rubbing shoulders and dining with people from different castes to woo dalit voters. When it comes to dalit leaders from their own parties, as Diler’s case shows, the rules seem to be the exact opposite.
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