Gandhinagar, May 31: It is quite clear that political parties prepare a lot before their leaders meet Dalit and tribal people in India. The politics over visiting Dalit and tribal houses was probably started by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi when he made a series of appearances at the houses of Dalit families and shared food with them since 2009.
Now, it seems Rahul's fierce critics have adopted his much-hyped and equally criticised visits to the Dalit and tribal houses which proved nothing more than photo ops.
After Dalits in a slum area of Uttar Pradesh were given soaps and shampoos to help them stay "stink-free" before meeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a tribal family in Gujarat got a brand new toilet and LPG stove to welcome Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah to their modest house in Chhota Udepur district.
As a part of his 110-day countrywide tour, Shah, on a one-day visit to Gujarat, will start his journey from tribal-dominated Chhota Udepur district, the BJP said in a statement.
According to a report by Indian Express, Shah will pay his visit to the house of a BJP party worker and farmer, Popatbhai Rathva, in Devaliya village on Wednesday. Since the time Rathva has come to know about Shah's visit to his home almost 10 days ago, his family is working hard to give a "fitting" welcome to their leader.
Moreover, all the BJP party workers in the village have ensured that Rathva household gets a toilet, which till date it was not there, and a LPG stove so that Rathva's wife could cook a smoke-free meal for Shah.
The new toilet with a white ceramic washbasin has added some "glamour" to the otherwise dilapidated mud house of Rathva. The LPG connection provided to Rathvas in the kitchen is a temporary arrangement till the lunch is served to the special guest.
"We were told about the visit of Amit Shahji around 10 days ago. We have not made any special arrangement, apart from building a new toilet and washbasin for the guest," Malkhabhai Rathva, cousin of Popatbhai, told Indian Express.
"On Monday, they (panchayat) began the construction work for the toilet and they completed it today... Though we have toilets for our family in the backyard, a new one was built for the guest near by the entrance of the house so that guest can access it easily," said Popat's son Atul.
Popat's mother said, "We are preparing a staple tribal meal for the guest which will include makkai na rotla (maize flour bread), vada (dumplings) and dry tuver bhaaji."