BJP MP joins Brahmin show of strength in Haryana, party keeps close watch

Wielding axes, a few thousand Brahmins gathered in the village of Pahrawar in Rohtak district on Sunday to demand the restoration of a lease of 16 acres to the community so that it can build a temple, school, college and hospital there.

A senior BJP leader from the Brahmin community told The Indian Express that this was probably the first time the community had engaged in a public show of strength at this scale while also displaying the axe, or farsa, which is the weapon of “Brahmin icon” Parshuram (the sixth incarnation of Hindu god Vishnu).

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The event in Pahrawar, which is a Brahmin-dominated village, was attended by BJP MP Arvind Sharma, who defeated the Congress’s Deepender Singh Hooda from Rohtak in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The parliamentarian hit out at Manohar Lal Khattar, saying the chief minister, who is from his party, “doesn’t do any work by applying his mind”. He also said the state had not had a Brahmin CM since Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma 56 years ago.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Lt. General (retired) DP Vats said Brahmins were the second-largest community in Haryana after Jats. There seems to be a growing sentiment in the community that it should have a bigger share of power. At the moment, Mool Chand Sharma is the only Brahmin Cabinet minister in the Khattar government. Apart from Sharma, Sonipat MP Ramesh Kaushik is the only other Brahmin MP from Haryana in the Lok Sabha while Vats is the only Brahmin BJP MP from the state in the Upper House.

The Brahmin Mahapanchayat, the birth anniversary of Lord Parshuram organized in the Pahrawar village at Rohtak on Sunday. May 22: (Photo by Manoj Dhaka/express Photo)

With Sharma pitching for a Brahmin CM in a state where the politics of caste has usually revolved around the factor of Jats and non-Jats, the BJP is closely monitoring the situation. According to party insiders, the government does not want to display undue haste and is seeking to avoid the impression that it is under pressure. Some BJP leaders also spoke of a Congress connection to Sunday’s event, pointing out that Pahrawar falls in Hooda territory.

The demonstration was organised by former AAP state president Naveen Jaihind who had called on Brahmins to bring along a brick and an axe to the programme. According to the protesters, in 2009, the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government approved the village panchayat’s proposal to give the land in question to the Gaur Brahmin organisation on lease. Five years later, when the BJP came to power, Pahrawar became a part of the Rohtak Municipal Corporation. The authorities cancelled the lease as some stipulated norms were allegedly not fulfilled.

“The members of the Brahmin community are running from pillar to post but the government has not handed over the land to them,” said Jaihind. “Now, Rs 8 crore (as development charges) are being sought from the Brahmins. We are not going to give a penny to the government.”

A few days ago, the former AAP leader used an excavator to remove a board of the civic body placed at the site and claimed the land for the community. A senior government official admitted that the matter was not handled properly.

Asked why the government did not restore the land lease, a senior BJP functionary said, “The land will be given to the community certainly after completing the due process.”

Vats also said there should not be any delay in returning the land to Brahmins.

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