Addressing a rally on the occasion of the Sant Ravidas birth anniversary here Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav raised the Rohith Vemula suicide issue and cautioned Dalits, who were present in large numbers at the meeting, against “falling into the trap of a divisive BJP”.
Both leaders criticised PM Narendra Modi for praising Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s speech in Parliament, where she had defended her ministry’s role in the suicide by the Hyderabad University student, saying she had propagated “lies”.
While Nitish said “the BJP is very good at telling lies”, Lalu said the party “does not follow the Indian Constitution and would rather go by what Guru Golwalkar taught them”.
“Those who do not subscribe to their (BJP’s) ideas may be declared traitors,” the CM said, accusing the NDA government of “vitiating the atmosphere in the country by raising only emotional issues”. “Bihar ka ladka (the boy from Bihar) Kanhaiya Kumar (arrested in the JNU sedition case) has been unnecessarily targeted,” Lalu said.
Nitish pointed out that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had not yet gone back on his remark that there was a “need for review of reservation”. Advising Dalits not to believe the BJP, he said, “It will also hold functions on B R Ambedkar and Sant Ravidas anniversaries. (But) the BJP is nothing without the RSS. BJP leaders may say that they support reservation but it is the RSS that holds sway. They are out to take away reservation, but let me say reservation is here to stay. You have to be cautious of BJP tactics to lure you… Manuvadi dhara ke changul me mat phasiyega (do not fall into the trap of Manuvadi ideology).”
Questioning the BJP’s contribution to freedom struggle and its emphasis on hoisting of the tricolour, Nitish said, “The BJP tried love jihad before the Uttar Pradesh elections and failed, it tried ghar wapsi and lost the Delhi polls, and it invoked gomansh (beef eating) in the Bihar elections and fell flat. They are now raising nationalism. I wonder what the Jan Sangh and RSS contributed towards India getting its Tricolour.”
Referring to Irani’s Parliament speech without naming her, he added, “The PM praised his minister’s speech. But doctors and Rohith Vemula’s mother called the minister’s bluff.”
Lalu told the gathering that it was the numerical strength of the Ravidas SC community that drew leaders to them. Advising the community against the BJP, he said, “PM Narendra Modi only follows the tenets of Guru Golwalkar. The BJP does not abide by the Indian Constitution, it has its own constitution, one written by Guru Golwalkar, whose book Bunch of Thoughts is the BJP’s guiding principle.”