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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ravidas temple demolition: BJP and AAP call each other ‘divisive’

At a specially convened press conference, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, with party vice-president Dushyant Gautam, the in-charge of Delhi, maintained the Centre did not have any role in the demolition.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: October 24, 2019 8:22:41 am
Fear of vote split brings a change: Poll talk centred around ‘bhaichara’ and Ravidas temple demolition The demolition had brought hundreds of protesters on the streets in Delhi and Punjab, and many of them, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, were arrested. (Archive)

With the AAP squarely blaming the Centre for the demolition of Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad, the BJP has launched an offensive on Delhi’s ruling party, cautioning it against “politicisation” of the issue and “playing divisive politics”.

At a specially convened press conference, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, who came with party vice-president Dushyant Gautam, the in-charge of Delhi, maintained that the Centre did not have any role in the demolition. He said the Centre had, in fact, taken the initiative of approaching the Supreme Court , offering 400 sq m of land for re-construction of the temple in the name of Sant Ravidas.

“Our government understood their feeling… The attorney general moved a proposal for the temple’s construction and it was accepted… The sad part is that parties like AAP and Congress tried to fuel social tensions and incite people,” he said.

The apex court had Monday accepted the Centre’s revised offer of 400 sq m land in Tughlakabad forest for construction of the temple, which was demolished by the DDA following the top court’s earlier order. The demolition had brought hundreds of protesters on the streets, and many of them, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, were arrested. With AAP targetting the BJP over the temple demolition, BJP sources said the leadership was apprehensive of this damaging their prospects in Delhi among the Dalit community.

Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, meanwhile, said the BJP and RSS “indulged in divisive politics”, and added that BJP could have prevented the demolition: “It’s clear that BJP acts against Dalit interests… But every time they took a hostile step, the entire society stood up and forced them to back down.”

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