Tension prevailed at the Jalandhar bypass in Ludhiana Saturday as BSP workers almost came to blows with BJP leaders over garlanding of Dr B R Ambedkar’s statue. The incident took place after BSP leaders reached the spot to oppose BJP’s move to garland the statue.
Amid heavy sloganeering, workers of both parties confronted each other, as their leaders issued statements against one another on the spot. Police reached the site of BJP’s programme in large numbers and prevented the situation from escalating into a major clash.
While BSP leaders accused BJP of “playing dirty politics” and doing drama of being Dalit sympathisers, BJP workers said that no one can stop them from garlanding the statue of Dr Ambedkar as he belongs to the entire nation. Even amid police presence, both sides kept raising slogans against each other.
While BSP leaders raised slogans of “Modi-Yogi murdabad” and “BJP murdabad”, the workers of BJP countered it with “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Jai Bhim, Jai Bharat”.
Pushpinder Singal, Ludhiana district president of the BJP, said that they had decided to honour and garland the statue of Dr Ambedkar in Ludhiana Saturday in protest against the “murderous attack” on BJP’s Nawanshahr district president Poonam Manik two days back by Congress workers.
“Two days back, our Nawanshahr district president Poonam Manik and other workers got seriously injured after they were attacked by Congress workers when they tried to garland Dr Ambedkar’s statue there. Manik got so seriously injured that she received stitches. Our programme today was to protest against Congress hooliganism, but BSP workers reached there and started dirty politics in name of Dr Ambedkar. They (BSP workers) are demanding justice for the girl killed in Hathras of Uttar Pradesh, but are blind towards 6-year-old Dalit girl child raped and killed in Hoshiarpur. The girl killed in Hathras is a Dalit but the one raped and killed in Hoshiarpur is not Dalit for them? BSP workers reached in our programme and started raising slogans against PM Modi, (UP CM) Yogi Adityanath, but we do not believe in any violence. We only answered them back with our slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Bhim, Jai Bharat’. Dr Ambedkar wrote our Constitution and he belongs to entire country not any one political party and none can stop us from honouring him,” said Singal.
Meanwhile, Jeet Ram Basra, Ludhiana district president of the BSP, who reached the spot with his party workers, said that they will continue to oppose and protest against the BJP.
“They are trying to play Dalit card in Punjab now whereas all their actions are against Dalits. Farmers are on the roads because of their anti-farmer farm laws and in Uttar Pradesh, there is no control on crime against SCs including Hathras case. And here in Punjab they are trying to show themselves as Dalit sympathisers. We will continue to protest and oppose this BJP drama going on in Punjab to woo Dalits,” said Basra. He added that it was a fight of ideologies and “BSP won’t allow BJP to fool Dalits in Punjab”.
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