Leading Congress’s fast at Rajghat, Rahul says Modi is ‘casteist’, ‘anti-Dalit’


New Delhi, April 9: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “casteist” and “anti-Dalit” and that the Congress would always stand against the BJP’s ”oppressive” ideology.
He was speaking to reporters at Rajghat, where he was leading the Congress’ nationwide fast against alleged communalism and non-functioning of Parliament. He said the grand old party would defeat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 general election.
“The entire country knows that Prime Minister Modi is anti-Dalit, it is not a secret… The BJP follows ideology of oppressing Dalits, tribals, minorities. We will stand against and defeat it in 2019 general election,” he said adding that the BJP’s Dalit MPs say Mr. Modi is “casteist.”
Gandhi sat for several hours at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial and was joined by senior leaders, including Kamal Nath, Mallikarjun Kharge, Sheila Dikshit, Ashok Gehlot, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and the party’s communications in charge Randeep Surjewala.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots cast a shadow over the ‘Sadhbhawna Upwas’ (fast for harmony), with Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, listed as accused for their alleged role in the riots, being asked to stay away from the stage where Gandhi and the other leaders were sitting.
While Kumar left the venue soon thereafter, Tytler sat in the audience along with party workers.
The fast at Rajghat was replicated across the country by Congress workers in all State and district headquarters.
Fight for ideology
Party leaders said the fast for harmony was also against the ”communal” politics of the BJP and non-functioning of Parliament, where the Congress wanted to debate issues of national importance such as the PNB bank scam, the CBSE papers leak, alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act, special category status to Andhra Pradesh and setting up of a Cauvery management board.
“This is a fight for the ideology and values which India represents. We won’t allow the politics of hatred and division aimed at garnering votes to succeed,” Surjewala told reporters.
Alleging that the Modi government’s politics of ”hatred and division” had marred this country, he said, “Divide and rule is the policy, like the Britishers, of the present BJP government. Divide society, divide religions, divide communities, divide castes, that is the DNA of the Modi government.”
He said the government had divided the country on religious lines and was now trying to divide it between Dalit and non-Dalits. Congress workers were on fast across the country to convey to people in the country that they should not be allured by the “diversionary and divisive tactics of the Modi government”.
”It is the duty of the Congress, the party which fought for India’s independence, to ensure that mutual brotherhood, compassion and love, respect for each other, prevails in our society with all its diversity and pluralism,” Mr. Surjewala said. “That is an idea we will continue to defend.”
Asked about the row over Kumar and Tytler, he said, “Some conspirators in the BJP try to find meaning in everything small or the big thing.”
He alleged that those who talked about such issues were taking sides with those who wanted to divide society. “We will fight against the conspiracy till the last breath, sacrificing blood under Rahul-ji’s leadership,” he said.
Certain “conspirators” of the BJP were trying to “belittle” the large idea of pluralism, inclusiveness, mutual brotherhood and mutual co-habitation, which is symbolic of the very essence of India, he said. (PTI)