Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday suspended one of its officers over alleged indiscipline, leading to former chief minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav claiming that officers from a specific caste were being transferred or suspended.
This could be his own ploy of playing caste politics to offset the overt politics of development and the covert politics of religion that the BJP has played to come to power with an overwhelming majority in a state that has sent the most number of prime ministers to office, including the current one: Narendra Modi was elected to Lok Sabha from Varanasi.
Himanshu Kumar was apparently suspended over some of his tweets in which he was critical of his superiors, alleging that some senior officials in the force are targeting subordinates from a particular caste.
Kumar, who is currently undergoing divorce, also took to Twitter to say how an officer close to the family of his wife influenced the investigation after he and his entire family — including his 80-year-old grandfather — was booked under what he claimed was false complaints that they had demanded dowry from her.
After Kumar was suspended, Akhilesh told reporters that he had received news of the state government targeting IPS officers of a specific caste with transfers and suspensions. He also chose to play up the caste card by saying that he was ok with the "shuddhikaran" — purification — of the chief minister's residence before Yogi Adityanath moved in.
While the statement itself may sound positive, the undertone is that Akhilesh himself is not hurt by the purification, which meant the house was impure because he stayed in it. However, he managed to paint the BJP and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as casteists, and could well use this as a poll plank when the Lok Sabha elections come along in 2019.