New Delhi: Upping the ante against the BJP ahead of the general elections, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday said that his organisation will support candidates who will contest against PM Narendra Modi and BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani.
"The Bhim Army will support candidates up against Modi — from whichever place he decides to contest from — because we don't want such a weak Prime Minister to come to power," he said referring to the stolen Rafale files, unemployment and inflation rate.
Reserving his strongest words for Smriti Irani, Azad said he will not let her win her Lok Sabha Seat.
"Wherever Smriti Irani will contest from, if there's already a strong candidate, we will support them or we will contest... She is responsible for the death of Rohith Vemula. We won't let her win a seat in the Lok Sabha," said Azad.
Rohith Vemula, a 25-year-old Dalit scholar from University of Hyderabad, committed suicide in January 2016 after he was expelled by the university. His suicide note was a searing indictment of India's caste-ridden society. It fanned widespread protests by students all over.
Post Rohith's suicide, 10 Dalit faculty members of the university resigned protesting the ‘misleading’ remarks of the then Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani. Rohith Vemula's mother accused Smriti Irani of spreading “blatant lies” in Parliament about the events surrounding her son’s death.
Azad also questioned Samajadwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav over Mulayam Singh's remarks wishing Modi a second term as Prime Minister.
"Can the Samajadwadi Party make its intentions clear. If they want to support the PM why would we (the community) support them?" he asked.
The Bhim Army, based in Saharanpur, is an unregistered unit and consists of Dalit volunteers who claim to champion the Dalit cause. The group counts itself as a social counter-movement to Brahminical ideology.
The Bhim Army had earlier put out a statement in support of the SP's pre-poll alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Azad, who was addressing a press conference in the city, criticised SP MP Yashvir Singh's opposition to the SC/ST reservations in promotion bill.
The Bhim Army chief laid out the demands which will be the focus of a four-day rally set to begin from March 11 from his hometown — Saharanpur.
Among the demands Azad listed were the declaration of the martyr status to the CRPF personnel who died in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, the implementation of the SC/ST/OBC reservations in promotion and the revival of the Chamar regiment.
The march will culminate at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on March 15.