A day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat supported reservation for Dalits and tribals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday argued that quota system alone would not get the desired equality, but there should be amity in the society.
“What we need is not just equality, we have to move forward and have samajik samarasta (social amity), which is a combination of equality and oneness… Samarasta needs a larger social awakening, while samata (equality) can be brought in through laws too,” he said while addressing a function to celebrate the 152nd birth anniversary of Ayyankali, a Dalit reformer from Kerala.
“We have to create systems where there is no injustice against anybody… I promise you the coming time will be a journey for samrasta,” the Prime Minister said.
Paying tribute to Ayyankali, Modi compared the Dalit reformer’s Kayal Sammelan, a meeting on a platform arranged on a row of country boats berthed in the backwaters to assert the backward Pulyar community’s rights 100 years ago, to Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March. “If Dandi March was a turning in the country’s freedom struggle, Kayal Sammelan was the turning point in social reforms,” he said.
The Prime Minister said, “It is this country’s misfortune that for some reason, the contributions of those who had lived for the country has been forgotten.” Modi’s move to address the birth anniversary celebration of the Dalit icon and Bhagwat’s statement backing the reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are seen as part of the BJP’s strategy to focus on the backward classes for political support. At a book launch on Sunday, Bhagwat backed reservation as a tool to bring equality to those suffering discrimination.
BJP has termed Prime Minister’s move to address the meeting as an attempt to be inclusive. “Our agenda is not divisive politics, but inclusive politics. We have no caste differences. BJP and RSS want to reach out to all sections of the society, especially the most downtrodden,” said
Lalitha Kumaramangalam, BJP spokesperson. “ We are a political party and we want to gain political support. There is nothing wrong in it.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines