Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said social justice should be a commitment and not a “drama” aimed at publicity, in an oblique attack on Rahul Gandhi’s attempts to reach out to Dalits.
The BJP chief said the party, inspired by Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s Antyoday, shared B.R. Ambedkar’s ideal of social justice without seeing it as a mere instrument for power.
Gadkari, speaking on the eve of Ambedkar Jayanti, launched an attack on Maoists while invoking the Dalit icon. His argument: the Constitution, which the Maoists wanted to destroy, was an outcome of Ambedkar’s efforts. “We will strongly oppose the Maoists who attack Dr Ambedkar’s constitution.”
LK Advani delivered the same message in Badami in Karnataka: root out Maoism and recall Ambedkar’s contributions.
Though Gadkari did not refer directly to Congress leader Rahul, the context had been set by BJP spokesperson Ramnath Kovind, a Dalit. “Rahul Gandhi’s meals at Dalit houses are just for publicity,” Kovind said minutes before Gadkari. “But Gadkariji did not resort to dikhaava (showing off).”
Gadkari has been attempting to expand the BJP’s Dalit base as part of a larger attempt to increase the party’s vote share by 10 percentage points.