BJP Worked To Destroy The Dignity Of Lord Ram: New Ayodhya MP 

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BJP Worked To Destroy The Dignity Of Lord Ram: New Ayodhya MP 

| Updated: June 7, 2024 13:59

A standout moment from the Lok Sabha election campaign trail was this one when Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav labelled his party’s candidate, Awadhesh Prasad, “poorva vidhayak (former MLA)” while campaigning in Faizabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh. 

Akhilesh corrected himself swiftly as Prasad, who was standing next to him on the podium, told him that he was still an MLA.

With loud cheers, Akhilesh said, “Poorva vidhayak isliye bol raha hoon kyunki sansad banne wale ho (I said you are a former MLA because you are about to become an MP).”

On June 4, nine-time MLA and SP founding member Prasad beat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Lallu Singh, a two-time MP, confirming Akhilesh’s prediction. Being a Pasi, Prasad is the first Dalit leader to have won from a non-reserved constituency. Prasad is currently the Dalit face of a Yadav party, despite his preference to refrain from identifying as a Dalit leader and to view himself as a representative of all social groups and communities.

Since Ayodhya, the site of the Ram Temple, is included in the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat and was a point of pride for the BJP, Prasad’s victory has drawn much attention across India. 

In an interview with a media outlet, the newly-elected MP said: “The BJP was spreading lies in the country, saying, ‘Hum Ram ko laaye hain (We brought back Ram)’. The reality is they cheated the country in the name of Ram, did business in the name of Ram, allowed inflation to rise in the name of Ram, created unemployment in the name of Ram, and uprooted the poor and farmers in the name of Ram. The BJP has worked to destroy the dignity of Ram. People have understood this.” 

When asked about the crucial role he played in the campaign trail, he said, “This was an election where the public took matters into its own hands. Everyone had faith in me… Caste did not come to the fore. Lallu Singh said the BJP needed 400 seats to change the Constitution. He should not have said this. People did not like it.”

After graduating from law school, Prasad entered political life at the age of 21. In 1974, he joined the Bharatiya Kranti Dal of Charan Singh and conducted an unsuccessful campaign for the Assembly from Sohawal in the Ayodhya district.

He was arrested while serving as the anti-emergency Sangharsh Samiti’s Faizabad district co-convener during the Emergency. His mother passed away while he was in jail, and he was denied bail to attend her last rites.

“My only regret is that I could not see my mother (in her last moments). It was during Emergency and I was in jail at the time. Her body was kept for five days but I could not have the last darshan of Amma. When I was in jail, my mother came to meet me. She was very happy at the time. She was so happy that when she returned to the village, people asked if I had been released and she replied, ‘He is in jail for the country,” he recollected.

Prasad quit law to pursue a career in politics after the Emergency. In 1981, then a general secretary of both the Lok Dal and the Janata Party, he could not attend the last rites of his father as he was in Amethi as the counting agent of Lok Dal candidate Sharad Yadav during the Lok Sabha by-polls, in which the Congress candidate was Rajiv Gandhi.

“Chaudhary Charan Singh made me sit in his car and said, ‘Awadhesh ji, we can go back only after the elections are over.’ I was the counting agent. When the news of my father’s death came, I was in a dilemma whether to go see him for the last time or listen to my political father Chaudhary Charan Singh. I chose to follow Charan Singh’s orders and went home after 14 days,” he said.

Prasad found himself with Mulayam when he founded the SP in 1992, when the party began to fracture. In addition to joining the party’s central parliamentary board, Prasad was named national secretary.

Now, being a prominent Dalit leader in SP, Prasad said: “This is not my victory, this is the victory of the great people of Ayodhya… Awadhesh Prasad will consider it his victory when he lives up to what he promised.” 

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