UP minister refutes claims his Dalit outreach backfired

Aligarh, (Uttar Pradesh): After his outreach, featuring a meal with a Dalit family as part of a larger Bharatiya Janata Party campaign, sparked a controversy, Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana has denied the claims that the dinner was an impromptu photo-op and the host was not informed until the very last minute.

“The whole village (Lohagadh in Aligarh district) is inhabited by Dalits. I received a lot of affection and moreover, the food was prepared in the village itself,” the minister told ANI.

He further said that others were trying to create an issue out of it as they couldn’t see the Dalits moving towards the path of progress.

“Some people are trying to unnecessarily create issues as such people can’t stand development being done by Yogi Adityanath and Narendra Modi,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rana did dine at a Dalit home, but the photos of a catered feast that emerged online spoke a different story.

“I didn’t even know they are coming for dinner, they came suddenly. All food, water and cutlery they had arranged from outside,” Rajnish Kumar, the Dalit man who “hosted” the minister, told ANI.

On Monday, Suresh Rana sparked off a controversy after photos of him and his associates eating food at a dalit man’s house vent viral in the internet.

People familiar with this issue said that the minister and his supporters ate served dal makhni, matar paneer, pulao, tandoori roti, naan and gulab jamun, besides bottled mineral water. (ANI)