Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday criticised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for taking food at the homes of Dalit families.
"Taking food at Dalits' homes, inviting the media or for publicity stunts, is not a good practice... Leaders should interact with Dalit people routinely and regularly. Only taking food at Dalits' houses is not sufficient, send family members too to their homes and invite them at your home." said Bhagwat spoke at a meeting about social harmony, Deccan Chronicle has reported.
"To get rid of caste barriers are needed, not the occasional symbolic gestures," the RSS chief reportedly said.
Bhagwat's remarks come in the wake of a special drive launched by the BJP to blunt the impact of large-scale protests by Dalit groups in the wake of SC ruling on Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.
To woo Dalits, several BJP ministers have visited Dalit homes and dined with them as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Gram Swaraj Abhiyan' mission, initiated to promote social harmony.
BJP president Amit Shah has visited Dalit and tribal homes on several occasions; so has BJP's CM face in Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa during the election campaign in the poll-bound state.
Recently, Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana triggered a controversy after reports claimed that he brought with him his own food and water at a dinner hosted at a Dalit household. However, the minister had dismissed the reports, saying, "The food was prepared in the village, by the villagers themselves."