Are SC/STs getting alienated from the BJP?
R L Francis
Despite its sincere efforts to ameliorate the condition of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the country, a picture is deliberately created by a section of the media and political interests that these sections of the Indian society are getting alienated from the BJP.
The inauguration of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial at 26 Allipur Road in the National Capital, fulfilling the demand for land for the Ambedkar Memorial in Mumbai’s Indu Mill premises and providing Rs 425 crore for the memorial, to purchase the house where Dr Ambedkar stayed and studied while in London or observe November 26 as ‘Samvidhan Diwas’ notwithstanding, the Dalit section seems to be straying away from the BJP and the Hindutva ideology.
The vested interests that do not want the SC/STs to come closer to BJP have used Rohit Vemula, Hindu Rashtra, Saharanpur violence and now the Supreme Court order on the Sc/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, to malign the image of the BJP and mislead the SC/ST sections by creating confusion in their minds about the genuine intentions of the ruling party. The so called secular tribe of journalists and political leaders, writers and think tanks have succeeded in hammering their minds that the BJP government wanted to abolish reservation by amending the Constitution.
Reacting strongly on the Supreme Court’s March 2 verdict on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act this secular tribe has started shouting from the rooftops amongst the Dalits and Adivasis. Many organizations working among the Dalits and Adivasis to rally round to oppose this move and observe Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14 this year as “Protect Constitution Day”.
The Supreme Court had not interfered in the Act, but only expressed its anguish on its misuse and said that the arrest should be preceded by preliminary enquiry by a competent authority. This was perceived by the secular tribe as affront on the Constitution and projected as government’s move to abolish reservation.
This is quite contrary to the ground reality at present. The BJP has maximum number of Dalit and Adivasi leaders and some of them are ministers in the Modi cabinet. It has friends like Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athavale. In spite of this the BJP has not been able to win the confidence of the Dalit and Adivasi communities and could not convince them that the government was in fact strengthening them and not weakening by abolishing the special constitutional provisions.
The respect Modi government had shown towards Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is exemplary and no Congress government had ever shown such a respect for him earlier. On the other hand, the successive Congress governments had only made them a mere vote bank and not taken any concrete step towards ameliorating their overall life standard and social status.
It was during the Modi government that the long pending demand of the Dalit groups for a memorial of Dr Ambedkar at Mumbai’s Indu Mill premises in Dadar was fulfilled and the government has allocated Rs 425 crore for the construction of world class memorial. The same Modi government purchased the three storied building in London for four million pounds where Dr Ambedkar studied for two years.
The activities and programs implemented by the BJP during the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar dwarfed all the so called secular parties that showed lip sympathy to Dr Ambedkar. The most prominent among these programs was the declaration of ‘Constitution Day’ on November 26 and to take the constitution to the people. Prime Minister Modi during the two-day debate in winter session of the parliament in 2015 said: “If Ambedkar had not given this reservation system what would have been the status of my Dalit, Exploited and Depressed society? God has given him everything that He has given to me and you. But he did not get the chance and that is why he is in such a state. It is our duty to provide him the opportunity”.
As far as RSS is concerned, it has time and again vouchsafed that it is not against the reservation and not anti-Dalit. People would recall how the RSS had offered respects to Dr Ambedkar as the leader of the Indian renaissance. After the Church, RSS is the only social organisation that conducts many programs among the Dalits and Adivasis. RSS has clarified publically on many occasions that reservation will continue till there existed social, economic and educational disparities and inequalities. In spite of this mischievous propaganda is being carried out against RSS painting it as anti-Dalits and anti-Tribals.
Those seculars indulging in the politics in the name of Dalits are trying to blame the BJP-RSS. They got an opportunity as some Dalit MPs of BJP wrote to the Prime Minister in haste reacting on the Supreme Court judgement. This has sent the message among the Dalit that the BJP and RSS are not safeguarding their interests. This was totally wrong but the message was sent and it was used as a propaganda tool by the seculars.
No government has done so much in the name and respect of Dr Ambedkar as the Modi government did and is doing. This government has completed many schemes in the name of Dr Ambedkar and gave them the importance they deserved. The dedication of memorial on 26 Alipur House in New Delhi where the great soul had spent the last days of his life, on the eve of Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary is one such act that should clear all the doubts and confusion from the minds of the Dalit and Adivasi communities about the true and genuine intentions of the Modi government, the BJP and the RSS.
(The author is Chairman of the Poor Christians Liberation Movement)