Rahul Gandhi's fast at Rajghat a 'drama': BJP
As Rahul Gandhi reached the Rajghat in New Delhi to observe the fast as per his party's call, the Bharatiya Janata Party reminded the Congress and its leadership of alleged "ill-treatment" of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar by the party's leaders, including then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
"The Congress has been doing politics of appeasement of the Dalits since the times of Nehru ji. Today (Monday), they are doing a drama to launch party President Rahul Gandhi. The Congress can go to any extent to launch its leader," BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra told media persons here.
Accusing the Congress chief of playing "divisive politics" ahead of the Assembly polls in Karnataka, the BJP leader said Rahul Gandhi cannot do away with the atrocities against the Dalits in the election-bound state as it was ruled by the Congress.
"In Gujarat, you (Congress) tried to divide the society in the name of the Patidars. You did the same thing in Haryana over the Jat reservation demand. In Madhya Pradesh, you went to Mandsaur to show solidarity with farmers while your leader was caught on camera provoking violence," Patra said, accusing the Congress of using such occasions to "fast-track" to establish Rahul Gandhi as its leader.
"This is not fast -- this is fast-tracking of Rahul Gandhi's political career," Patra said.
"Why doesn't Rahul Gandhi sit on fast in Karnataka, where 9,080 cases of crimes against Dalits have been registered, 358 Dalits murdered and 809 Dalit women harassed under the Congress rule," the BJP leader wondered.
"Why this double standards. Are Dalits of Karnataka not Dalits," he asked.
Another BJP Spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri dubbed Rahul Gandhi's fast as "drama" to show solidarity with the Dalits and accused him of "vitiating" the atmosphere in the country after the March 20 Supreme Court order on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
"This is not Rahul Gandhi's love for the Dalits. After spreading violence, he is doing the drama of non-violence," he said while listing out the Centre's steps for the welfare of SCs/STs.
"Ever since Narendra Modi has become the Prime Minister, he has relentlessly been working for the welfare of the backward communities and that has the Congress worried," Shastri said and urged the Dalits not to fall for what he called the Congress "propaganda".
Earlier, the BJP on Sunday night issued a video clipping of Gandhi on social media and accused him of spreading "falsehood" about the said Act.
In the video, Rahul Gandhi is allegedly heard accusing the Modi government of diluting the SC/ST Act.
"Rahul Gandhi may choose to fast but should refrain from spreading falsehoods," the BJP said in a tweet.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's order, the Congress is organising day-long fasts across the country on Monday to promote harmony between different sections of society and protest against the government's alleged anti-Dalit policy.