Q: Do you think Mayawati’s resignation from the Rajya Sabha will have an impact on UP politics? How do you evaluate the BJP’s move of making a dalit the new President of India? Do you think he is a liberator of dalits?
A: “Mayawati’s resignation is a move made to regain the support she had lost among dalits because of corruption charges. The choice of a dalit from UP to be the President by the BJP was to impress upon the dalits of that state that the party is with them. More than a liberator, the new President is a scapegoat. He is no doubt a good and honest man having a long political carrier behind him. Presenting him as a dalit icon like Ambedkar will make all dalits happy. They can now say they have a weighty national leader, although for the BJP it is just a eye-wash. The government runs a lot of schools in UP, but there is not a single school for dalits in the rural areas. They have many primary health centres, but not a single one is functioning. They are taking people for a ride by creating the false impression that they are standing for the dalits. The reality is that the dalits are exploited by landlords, land mafia and money lenders, as is the case with tribals. May be there is some-thing positive in the psychological gratification dalits get in looking up to Kovind as an icon like Ambedkar.”