The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh is at the centre of a storm after its MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar from the Denduluru constituency was seen making cateist remarks against the state's Dalit community in a viral video.
Prabhakar, in a public meeting reportedly held in November last year, told a group of Dalit men that they should not involve themselves in politics since they belong to lower caste. He also said that he is doing them a favour by giving them buffaloes for Rs 18,000 which he purchased for Rs 80,000.
Prabhakar is also seen boasting of his upper class lineage. "You people are downtrodden who belong to Sheduled Caste. Politics is for upper caste people like us.The leadership is also reserved for us. Then why are you fighting and joining rival camps such as Yuvajana Sramika Rytu Congress (YSRC). You need to think about your kids, how to raise them and not concentrate on politics. Here, I am donating buffaloes to you in front of the architect of the constitution, BR Ambedkar," Prabhakar tells the crowd, as seen in the video, the News Minute reported.
The TDP MLA was speaking in the context of some Dalit men who had joined YSRC party and had prevented from hosting the event where Prabhakar was to speak. Following the state-wide protests by Dalits and other SC/ ST communities, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu put his weight behind the controversial MLA and said that the video doing the rounds on social media had been morphed and doctored by the workers of the rival party, YSRCP.
The Eluru Police in the West Godavari district of the state have ironically arrested the Dalit leader of YSCRC, Kathula Ravi, after the TDP workers registered a complaint with the police alleging that he was involved in morphing the video. Prabhakar, on the other hand, has pleaded innocence and said that a committee comprising SC/ ST leaders should be set to look into the matter.
"If I am found guilty, I will never contest an election in my life," Prabahakar said while staging a sit-in-protest near BR Ambedkar statue in Elaru junction.