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HomeBreaking NewsBehind Uniform Civil Code Bill in Parliament, a perennial protester from Rajasthan

Behind Uniform Civil Code Bill in Parliament, a perennial protester from Rajasthan

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena caused a stir in the opposition benches on Friday introduction of a Private Members Act to the Uniform Civil Code.

While the spotlight in the Rajya Sabha is rare for him, Kirodi Lal is never far from the news cycle in his home state of Rajasthan, where the 70-year-old is known as a perennial protester.

He is also a strong supporter of the BJP’s Hindutva ideology, unlike other tribal leaders who claim that they do not fall within the Hindu herd. Therefore, Kirodi Lal’s UCC move may not be a surprise move.

MBBS graduate Kirodi Lal was first elected to Mahwa state assembly in Dausa district in 1985 on a BJP ticket. In 1989, he won his first Lok Sabha election.

At 13.48% of Rajasthan’s population, tribes are an important vote bank in the state. Of them, the Meenas are in the majority. Though traditionally congressional voters, Kirodi Lal has forged a foothold for the BJP among them, winning consistently in elections in districts in eastern Rajasthan with high tribal populations despite shifting constituencies. His ability to draw crowds is one of his greatest assets.

Between 2003 and 2008, Kirodi Lal served as a minister in the first Raje-led government in Rajasthan. Due to differences of opinion with her, he left the party in 2008.

Given Kirodi’s influence, the Congress was only too willing to oblige and hosted his wife Golma Devi, who won the 2008 parliamentary elections as an independent, as a minister in the then Gehlot government from 2008-2013. That tenure proved short-lived, however, with Golma resigning within four months, claiming congressional leaders insulted her husband.

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In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Kirodi Lal contested from Dausa as an independent and won, defeating both BJP and Congress candidates. This was a sweet victory for him, after losing to Dausa in 1996 against Congress stalwart Rajesh Pilot.

Before the 2013 parliamentary elections, Kirodi Lal joined the PA Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP). Again, his appeal was on display as he helped an unknown party in Rajasthan win four seats in the state. The election also saw Raje return to power in the state by an overwhelming majority, with the BJP winning 163 of the 200 seats in the Assembly.

From 2013 to early 2018, Kirodi Lal was a vociferous critic of Raje’s government, mainly on issues pertaining to the community, including the spelling confusion between Mina and Meena, which affected the use of reservations by community members. In 2016, police booked Kirodi Lal along with 12 others in an alleged gang rape case. The case has been handed over to the CID-CB by the Raje government and no progress has been made yet. He also talked about building a third front to provide an alternative to Congress and the BJP.

But then, in March 2018, Kirodi Lal made a surprise return to the BJP and appeared on stage with Raje, who was facing serious anti-incumbency at the time. The party promptly made Kirodi Lal a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, which he has remained ever since.

In the elections that followed, the BJP performed poorly in Meena-dominated eastern Rajasthan, which also has a sizeable Gujjar population – a vote bank of Congress leader Sachin Pilot. While opponents of Kirodi Lal said the BJP’s defeat showed that its grip in the region was loosening, he has maintained that despite reinstating him in the party, the BJP has not given him a free hand in the ticket distribution.

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Although he may have spent 10 years outside the BJP, Kirodi Lal, known by monikers like ‘Doctor Sahab’ and ‘Baba’, is an avowed supporter of the party’s Hindutva ideology. Last year, when a controversy erupted over a saffron flag being knocked down at Amagarh Fort in Jaipur in the presence of tribal leaders, who accused Hindu groups of appropriating tribal symbols, Kirodi Lal led the pushback against other Meena leaders like Independent MLA Ramkesh Meena. Later, the 70-year-old evaded police and hoisted a flag of the Meena community over the fort.

While several Meena leaders questioned his “duplicity” and questioned why Kirodi Lal had not raised a “Hindu (saffron)” flag given his beliefs, Congress MLAs such as Murari Lal Meena urged the government not to take any action against him. party lines.

Only a handful of Meena politicians, including Congress MLA Ramesh Meena, have publicly challenged Kirodi Lal’s position in the community. Over the past year, Kirodi Lal has staged dharnas on incidents such as murders, rapes and intercommunal violence. After the incident in Karauli, he claimed that Hindu families fled the city, a claim that was denied by the police. The Gehlot government has brought several cases against him.

Kirodi Lal was one of the first opposition leaders to claim that last year’s REET issue had been leaked, prompting the Gehlot government to take to the mat with a series of “revelations”, including claims that ministers in the Gehlot government were involved in the conspiracy. . Gehlot accused Kirodi Lal of making false accusations at the behest of BJP leaders in Delhi. However, after protests, the state government was forced to cancel the REET Level 2 exam.

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The spurt in Kirodi Lal’s activities has not gone unnoticed by other BJP leaders, who talk privately about the protests and press conferences he presides in parallel to events organized by the state BJP. However, few are likely to challenge him on this. Apart from Raje, who hopes to make a comeback in next year’s parliamentary elections, another rival, BJP MLA and deputy opposition leader Rajendra Rathore, has spoken out in favor of Kirodi Lal following his threat claims. During NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu’s visit to Jaipur, Kirodi Lal had a public argument with Rathore over the arrangements.

Meena also claimed that he received death threats for helping the family of Kanhaiya Lal, who was killed due to social media posts supporting statements against the Prophet Mohammad.


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