New Delhi: Congress party’s nationwide fast against caste violence, communalism, washout of the Budget Session of the Parliament, CBSE paper leak and several other issues, ended up in a war of words between the party President Rahul Gandhi and BJP leaders who dubbed the protest at Rajghat a “farce”.
While Gandhi with other senior leaders called BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi “anti-Dalit” and casteist, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, too, made some personal attacks on Gandhi saying he arrived late for the fast because “he couldn’t wake up early”.
Congress workers on Monday observed a day-long fast in all state and district headquarters to voice their protest against the BJP government and promote communal harmony and peace across the country.
Gandhi sat for several hours at Rajghat and was joined by senior leaders, Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, P C Chacko, the party's Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken and Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala who also took part in the fast.
“BJP’s ideology is to divide the country and it is against Dalits, Adivasis and we will defeat them in 2019. We are fighting against the atrocities being meted out to the Dalits by this anti-Dalit government,” said Gandhi.
While speaking to the media, Gandhi added that he is also fighting for the media that is being “suppressed into silence”.
“The entire country knows that PM Modi is anti-Dalit, it is not a secret... The BJP follows ideology of oppressing Dalits, tribals and minorities. We will stand against them and defeat them in 2019 general polls,” Gandhi told reporters.
Taking a dig at Gandhi over his attack on the Modi government over Dalit issues, Patra asked if he had abstained even from one meal when anti-Dalit violence had happened in places like Mirchpur, Gohana and Jhajjar when the Congress was in power.
However, the ‘Sadbhawna Upwas’ called for “peace” was also in for some controversy when 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler were seen on the dais on which Gandhi was supposed to sit for the fast. The two were asked to not sit on the main stage and were asked to leave.
BJP’s Sambit Patra ridiculed the opposition party's fast, saying its leaders had come to the Mahatma Gandhi's memorial to talk about non-violence but the presence of Kumar and Tytler exposed the party's "real violent" face.
Surjewala was quick to hit out at the BJP over the controversy. He said, "Some conspirators in BJP see meaning in everything.”
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 the society, divide religions, divide communities, divide castes that is the DNA of the Modi government."