Caste Differently

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Apr 07, 2014

Despite the Gurgaon Lok Sabha Constituency having a large Scheduled Caste (SC) population, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) does not have a strong presence in the area. The BSP leadership in Uttar Pradesh, where the Party has a sizeable presence, is also baffled on this score. Maybe realising that even the personality of individual leaders plays an important role in Haryana politics, BSP this time has decided to field Dharampal Kota Rathi – despite his belonging to the Gujjar community. Rathi supporters calculate that 3 lakhs SC voters in the Constituency, apart from over a lakh Gujjars, make him a strong contender. Speaking to Friday Gurgaon during his campaign trail in rural Gurgaon, Rathi asserts that he has support in all the areas, including Mewat. Rathi started out as a pehlwan, then ventured into business, followed by social work and finally…politics. The BSP candidate has a clear agenda for Gurgaon.


Why should the people of Gurgaon vote for BSP, and your leader Mayawati?

The people of Gurgaon should vote for BSP because we are the only Party that has brought every community together. We had run a clean government in Uttar Pradesh and people were not at the mercy of criminals and anti-social elements. BSP is the only Party that can cater to the large socially and backward population in this Region. Our Party is going to play an important role after the Lok Sabha polls, and we will be in strong position to guide the development if people vote for us.

What is your primary agenda for the development of Gurgaon. What are the important agendas in your Manifesto?

The Gurgaon Lok Sabha area needs economic, social as well as political empowerment, as the politicians from this Region have never spoken for the development and growth of the area. I live among the people, share their concerns, and through social service I have helped them in times of difficulty. The most important agendas for this Region would be: the setting up of a university and sports stadiums (both in Gurgaon and Mewat); resolution of the SYL Canal issue, so that water for agriculture is available to the parched lands in South Haryana; and, most importantly,  a 33 per cent reservation for local youth in the private sector companies and industry in the Region. I would also propose that we end the ban on mining, as the entire Mewat is suffering due to a lack of industry; and the movement of dumpers from Rajasthan, carrying stones to be crushed here, defeats the very purpose of the mining ban. We also need to ensure an end to the system of contract workers in the local industry, which has vitiated the industrial environment in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt. While we welcome the migrant workers in this area, the locals should get their due share of jobs in the industry.

How are you going to fight corruption at the local and top level?

Our leader Mayawati is known to be a tough administrator, and in the Lok Sabha I will raise a strong voice against the endemic corruption in Gurgaon - and across Haryana. Corruption comes from the top leadership, and unless the people decide to change the politicians, they will have to bear with corruption. It is time for the people of Gurgaon to vote for people like me, who have worked and earned the hard way and have no greed for siphoning public money or using CLUs to collect money from builders. Every rupee that is given in bribery means that the interests of the poor and weaker sections are being shortchanged or the rightful due of one person is being diverted to someone underserving. 

The builders in Gurgaon, in particular, seem to have become all-powerful and drive the agenda of the Haryana government. How do you plan to check their domination?

Once again, the builders have grown powerful because of the capitulation of the political class to money. The politicians speak only the language of money, and this will be addressed by ensuring that rules and regulations related to real estate and apartments are implemented in their letter and spirit. The forcible acquisition of land and the frequent changes in the Master Plans, at the behest of builders, will be investigated - and also stopped.

Gurgaon has major problems related to lack of water and power, and poor roads and other infrastructure? What vision does the BSP have to resolve these issues?

First of all the EDC (charges) collected from Gurgaon would be spent on the City as well as the Constituency, to boost civic infrastructure. It can’t happen that Gurgaon wallows in darkness while the power supply is 24x7 in Rohtak - which has happened during the reign of the current Chief Minister. There is a need to build more flyovers and underpasses in the City. Water Treatment Plants, and recycling of water, also need to be promoted - but ultimately it is about the Region getting its due share of various facilities. The entire South Haryana has been discriminated against by the Hooda government, as all jobs and development have benefitted only Rohtak, Sonipat and Jhajjar. In our rule, development will be more balanced across regions and jobs will go to youth on merit - not on the basis of geography.

How are you going to help the large number of farmers in this Constituency?

First of all there will no forcible acquisition of land in this Region, for building real estate. Land, if required, can be acquired under the new law, which will ensure a perpetual compensation to farmers. If a majority of people is not ready to give up their land, then no private player should try to force them. The misuse of Sections 4 and 6 will be stopped, and this matter would also be raised in the Lok Sabha, once I win at the polls.

What is your stand on the mushrooming unauthorised colonies and the 900 meter restricted area (around the Ammunition Depot) in Gurgaon?

Action should be taken against those officials and builders who have allowed the setting up of these colonies, but why should the poor and lower middle class people be made to suffer? They pay taxes, and even power and water bills. These people need houses, and since the State as well as the private real estate industry cannot meet their requirements, they have sought refuge in such colonies. Also, it is surprising that the BJP candidate, who was a Minister of State for Defence, did not resolve the Ammunition Depot issue when he could. The government must accept its policy failure on housing and ensure that people of these areas are able to live peacefully.

Do you think that there is a need for a Gurgaon Development Agency (GDA) to streamline the development of the City?

No doubt a Gurgaon Development Authority is needed, but the problem is, from where will it begin its work? The City has seen no development in the last 10 years of Congress rule. Just two hours of rain causes waterlogging, there is no regular public transport and the Metro is so far off from ‘old’ Gurgaon. But yes, I support the idea of a GDA, as long as it is accountable to the people.

Why should youth and women support the BSP in Gurgaon?

Our supreme leader is a woman and this speaks volumes about our Party. We are young Party and support the cause of the youth -  including safety, security, growth and employment. I assure the people of Gurgaon that if I win I will be with them through thick and thin.


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