Two days after he was denied ticket, BJP MP from Etawah, Ashok Dohre, defected to the Congress on Friday. Dohre joined the Congress in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and said only Congress was the voice of ‘Sarv Samaj’ (entire society). BJP has replaced Dohre with SC/ST commission chairman and Agra MP Ramashankar Katheria in Etawah. Dohre had been sulking after being denied ticket and had been planning to switch to a rival camp.
Dohre, who was a cabinet minister in Mayawati regime, had joined the BJP before 2014 Lok Sabha elections after he was expelled by Mayawati for anti-party activities.
The Etawah MP said that he had irked the BJP leadership by speaking up for Dalits after the Supreme Court diluted the SC/ST Act last year. “Many Dalit protests after the SC ruling were dealt with an iron hand by the state government. Does providing justice to one’s community amounts to indiscipline,” he asked. Buzz over Dohre to be denied ticket started when his name was dropped in the posters put up by BJP for a party programme in Etawah recently. Dohre said while names and pictures of MLAs and even district presidents found a mention in the hoardings and posters, there was no mention of him. “It was an embarrassment for me. I am the local MP and had devoted my time to the constituency. Still I was denied a ticket and there was no explanation from the party,” he said.
Dohre is the second BJP MP to join the Congress after Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule, also a Dalit. Phule, too, had rebelled against the BJP and called it anti-Dalit. Earlier this week, BJP MP from Hardoi, Anshul Verma, joined the Samajwadi Party after being denied ticket.