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Rajput Community’s Massive Boycott Sparks Tensions for BJP in Key States

Rajput Community's Massive Boycott Sparks Tensions for BJP in Key States
Members of the Rajput community at a protest march in Rajkot demanding the removal of BJP leader Parshottam Rupala’s candidature over his controversial remarks. Photo: The Hindu

In Western Uttar Pradesh, there is a growing revolt amongst the Rajput community against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This revolt is causing damage to the BJP as the Lok Sabha elections take place across various constituencies.

Recently, the hashtag #RajputBoycottBJP gained popularity on the microblogging site X, where community members were posting videos explaining why they are boycotting the BJP.

One reason for the community’s anger is the misrepresentation of historical facts. They are upset that the Gujjar community has claimed their ancestors, such as Gurjara Pratihara Samrat Mihir Bhoj, and also trying to claim Rajput warrior Prithvi Raj Chauhan.

Rajput leaders argue that these developments are happening under the watch of the state government and the BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Tensions escalated recently when Union Minister Parshottam Rupala made a contentious remark about the Kshatriyas in Gujarat, sparking widespread protests. In response, there were calls for the withdrawal of his candidacy from the Rajkot constituency in Gujarat.

For similar reasons, in Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh too, the Rajput community is feeling alienated from the BJP. They believe that the party has treated them unjustly.

Last Sunday, on X the hashtag #RajputBoycottBJP trended as the third most popular topic, with over 79,000 tweets. 

Rajput community members expressed growing dissatisfaction towards the BJP in their posts, highlighting the complex relationship between this dominant caste group and the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party.

Furthermore, a Rajput mahapanchayat was held on April 18 in Kheda village under the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. During this event, Rajputs declared their decision to boycott BJP candidates in the first phase of the general elections. This decision was influenced by fewer tickets being given to the community memebers, the poor implementation of the government schemes, the Agniveer Scheme, and insults to the Rajput Samaj.

On April 27, members of the Rajput community in Gujarat staged a protest against the controversial statement made by Union Minister Parshottam Rupala about the Kshatriyas. Rupala is contesting as a BJP candidate from the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat. Rupala said, “Even kings and royals bowed down to the British, started family bonds with them, broke bread with them, and even married their daughters to them. But our Rukhi Samaj (a Dalit Community) neither changed their religion nor established such ties, though they were persecuted the most.”

This statement was perceived as an insult to their heritage, intensifying unrest among the Rajputs, who compete with the Gurjars and Jats for social and political dominance in the western regions of the country.

Voice of Dissent are Louder in Western UP

In Uttar Pradesh, the Rajput community, which constitutes nearly 10% of the population in the western regions is irked by the lesser number of Lok Sabha seats, despite having a sizable population.

Tensions heightened after VK Singh, a prominent Rajput leader, was replaced by Atul Garg, a member of the Baniya community, in the Ghaziabad constituency. Out of the 26 seats in western Uttar Pradesh, the Rajputs were allocated only one seat, Moradabad, further fueling discontent among community members.

Thakur Puran Singh, a Rajput leader in Uttar Pradesh, is visiting every Thakur community village and raising the issues he sees as an injustice to the community.

“The BJP is pushing the Thakur community to the edge. They have continuously engaged in distorting the Rajput’s glorious history. We have been denied equal rights in the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category and are now refused equal representation in Lok Sabha,” Thakur Puran Singh said.

Misrepresentation of History

The Rajput community’s accusations are that the BJP and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), are attempting to “distort history” of their ancestors. Community leaders, such as Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena head Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, have alleged that the BJP is “trying to snatch the Rajput identity” of historical figures like Samrat Mihir Bhoj, Anangpal Tomar, and Prithviraj Chauhan by attributing them to other castes.

Pertinently, this has contributed to a sense of alienation and a conviction that the BJP is not prioritizing the interests of the Rajput community. A recent Rajput Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar, the widespread protests in Gujarat, and the trending hashtags are all examples of the Rajput community’s public disapproval of the BJP.

If the shifting trends are to be believed, this may not be good a good sign for the ruling BJP in the biggest ever election festival.

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