Ramdas Athawale addresses rally in Mumbai: seeks arrest of bhide, defends BJP governments
As a Dalit leader and a BJP ally, Athawle finds himself in a peculiar situation.Updated: May 03, 2018 17:34 IST
Union minister and Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athawale came down heavily on his opponents for trying to malign the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the state and Centre levels, while leading a morcha on Wednesday.
Addressing the rally, Athawle also said that the morcha was organised in order to express Dalit anger resulting from the failure to arret Sambhaji Bhide, a right-wing leader alleged to be the architect of the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out in January this year. Bhide has not yet been arrested by the government despite repeated complaints filed against him.
At the same time, Athawle dismissed claims that the morcha had been organised against the government. “This morcha is not a challenge to the government, but it’s an expression of Dalits’ anger against the police departments’ handling of the Bhima Koregaon violence. The police should arrest Sambhaji Bhide and also check the activities of Shiv Pratisthan (trust headed by Bhide),” said Athawale. “
As a Dalit leader and a BJP ally, Athawle finds himself in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, he faces competition from Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief, Prakash Ambedkar, as a Dalit leader. On the other hand, as an ally of the BJP, he also has to defend the party.
“My opponents said this government was trying to change the constitution. PM Modi has already dismissed these claims. They said that Government will scrap reservation. This has also been debunked by BJP President Amit Shah,” Athawle said.