Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) Vinay Dubey — the man termed as the reason behind the migrants chaos in Mumbais Bandra on Tuesday when thousands of labourers took to the street demanding to be taken back to their homes — is originally a small scale technical support provider to an e-commerce website with never ending political ambitions, making the politically redundant North Indian voters in Maharashtra his political capital.
He had unsuccessfully fought the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket from the Varanasi North constituency. The elections that saw Akhilesh Yadav come to power as the young Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh left him badly defeated, as he did not figure in the top five. BJP’s Ravindra Jaiswal had won the seat in a neck-to-neck fight with BSP’s Sujeet Kumar Maurya.
But Dubey was in no mood to call it quits. After failure in the rough political pitches of the cow belt, he made the North Indians living in Mumbai his political capital.
The man whose call through social media brought thousands of migrants to the streets of Mumbai on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the ongoing pan-India shutdown till May 3, heads an organisation called Uttar Bharatiya Mahapanchayat.
Under this umbrella, Dubey united North Indians, mostly workers and labourers working in warehouses, restaurants, malls and factories, as well as auto rickshaws drivers.
As the 2019 general elections approached, Dubey’s fondness for the NCP started to wane and he found a new but unlikely route through Raj Thackeray. Ironically, Thackeray is known for his blatant anti-North Indian stand and his outfit has often resorted to violence to exhibit its political stand on the matter.
However, necessity and changing demography makes strangers allies. Mumbai and parts of Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts are places where over 40 lakh migrants, mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, live.
Dubey with his rising importance among the city’s migrants managed the impossible — he got Raj Thackeray to address the migrants. Convinced with no support from North Indians, it was a necessary move for Thackeray as it was for Dubey who needed a political backing for himself. It was a win-win situation for both.
The state’s migrants had leaders like Ram Manohar Tripathi, Ramesh Dubey, Chandrakant Tripathi, Kripa Shankar Singh, Arif Naseem Khan, Sanjay Nirupam (all from the Congress), Nawab Malik (NCP) and Abu Azmi (Samajwadi Party) who aggressively stood by them, but only till the time MNS came with its sharp ‘Marath Manoos’ ideology that forced many of them to subdue.
In that leadership vacuum, an odd technical support provider with high political ambitions rose to the occasion — Vinay Dubey.
Come the 2019 general elections, Dubey once again threw his hat in the fray, as an independent this time, banking on MNS support. He fought from Kalyan against strong Maharashtian candidate Shrikant Shinde, the son of Thane strongman and state minister Eknath Shinde, and lost again.
But what he did not lose was the influence he still holds over the city’s migrants. So to flex his muscle, he used the desperation of migrants caught in the Covid-19 lockdown and gave them a call to assemble on April 14 at the Lok Manya Tilak Terminus to “head home”.
In a now viral video, he is heard saying, “People from other states are now stuck in my Maharashtra.”
Dubey is clearly seen telling them through the video to sit in the terminus. “We are stuck at home. We are dying. So might as well die while fighting,” Dubey is heard saying.
The Mumbai Police has detained him now and is probing the matter. According to his 2012 election affidavit, Dubey hails from a non-descriptive village called Harinarayanpur. As per the affidavit, he had no pending FIR against him.