September 1, 2016 1:38:23 am
WITH THE opposition trying to consolidate Dalit and Muslim support in the wake of increased atrocities on the communities by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes, a senior BJP leader Wednesday warned the Dalit communities that unity between the two is not sustainable, and that it has been “historically proven” that whenever these two communities got together, Dalits got “wiped out”.
In an effort to prove that Dalits purportedly cannot “grow” under Muslims, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao cited the example of Pakistan. “Look at Pakistan. Where are the Dalits there? The population of Dalits has diminished there, unlike in India where, despite the narrow agenda of some communities and social problems, the Dalit population has grown,” Rao said at a function organised by Bharat Niti, a policy advocacy platform of the BJP and RSS on Dalit entrepreneurship.
Referring to attempts by some parties to forge Dalit-Muslim unity, the BJP leader said, “Some people say Muslims and Dalits are united. (But) historically it has been proved that it is unsustainable.”
In an effort to woo Dalit voters, Rao said, “The objective of (the) Indian freedom struggle is incomplete unless Dalits are empowered. Without Dalits, there is no India. Without Dalit empowerment, the Indian growth story is incomplete.”
The event — to discuss “Dalit empowerment through entrepreneurship” — was also addressed by Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, BJP MPs Priyanka Rawat and Janak Chamar, and Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) founder Milind Kamble.
Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become a “torchbearer” for the socially deprived, Rao said the BJP-led NDA government is taking forward the legislative empowerment that started with Poona Pact, which he called a milestone for empowerment of Dalits. The Poona Pact was an agreement between Dr B R Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi on September 24, 1932, which paved the way for reservation of seats for the oppressed classes and castes.
He said: “No matter what divisive forces say, Dalit empowerment is a national agenda. Whoever does not accept it is against the nation. It’s our national agenda…. Dalits are part of Indian ethnicity. Dalits have been part of India since the beginning, and will be (a part of the country) till the end.”
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