Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi targeted BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday for failing to use the party platform that its founder Kanshi Ram provided for the benefit of Dalits. Mayawati hit back, saying Gandhi was trying to mislead people and Dalits suffered hugely during Congress rule as well.
Gandhi also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the UPA’s welfare schemes meant for the uplift of Dalits were discontinued by the NDA government.
“People say BSP did not do a good job. I want to make a difference among the BSP, its chief Mayawati and its founder Kanshi Ram. Kanshi Ram did a good job for Dalits. But Mayawati did not properly use the platform that Kanshi Ram provided. So, the benefits did not reach Dalits,” Gandhi said addressing a Dalit Leadership Development Conclave.
A Lucknow declaration titled Dalit Manifesto (for the 2017 polls) moved by senior party leader PL Punia was adopted at the conclave organised by the state Congress unit’s Scheduled Caste cell.
“Mayawati did not take Dalits forward. Instead, she crushed the Dalits in the (BSP) organisation... She keeps all the powers with her and does not use them in a right manner,” Gandhi said.
The Congress vice-president termed Hyderabad university scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide as a murder “committed by the government of India”.
“Rohith did not commit suicide. Hindustan ki sarkar (the central government) exerted undue pressure on him. Rohith wanted to express the pain he suffered. When he wanted to speak about this pain, the government put all the pressure on him,” he said. “BJP and RSS want to enforce their ideology in the education system and most of the vice-chancellors of central universities are of RSS ideology. Even the Hyderabad university VC is a hardcore RSS ideologue.”
Reacting to Gandhi’s participation in the Dalit conclave, Mayawati said, “Post-Independence, the Congress remained in power for over five decades but did very little for the uplift of the Scheduled Castes and tribals. Congress leaders merely sold dreams to the have-nots to get their votes. To empower Dalits, Kanshi Ram launched the BSP in 1984.”