Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday called upon Scheduled Caste workers and BJP leaders to fight the “wrong perception” being created by the Opposition about the party and resolve to re-install Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2019.
Gadkari, who is being seen as the alternative contender for the Prime Ministerial post in 2019 general elections, was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the party’s SC front Anusuchit Jaati Morcha’s two-day national convention.
“BJP governments have been instrumental in providing social honour to the SC community by building memorials at various places of importance in Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life. We have also implemented various schemes for their benefit. The Congress plotted to defeat Ambedkar when he fought the Lok Sabha election from Vidarbha’s Bhandara constituency. The Opposition has been campaigning against us and calling us communal and anti-Dalit. Time has come for us to counter this perception and re-elect the BJP with Narendra Modi as PM,” Gadkari said addressing the gathering, which comprised of BJP’s elected representatives from the SC community from Zila Parishad to Parliament.
“You create more enemies by doing good work than by doing bad work as, with your good work, you shut the shops of many. That’s why the enemies close ranks against you. Why else would a nephew (bhanja) rush to join hands with his aunty,” he said, referring to Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati. “Their coming together is a testimony to our work and strength. Let all of them come together. We will make them bite the dust under Modiji’s leadership,” Gadkari said.
Stating that the BJP stands for the principles of nationalism, good governance, development and antyodaya (well-being of the last man), Gadkari listed several projects dedicated to Babasaheb Ambedkar for his work, including Nagpur’s Deekshabhoomi, Mumbai’s Indu Mills and the Ambedkar House in London, where he had stayed.
“We also implemented several schemes for the SCs. When Modiji first entered Parliament as PM, he said that his government will be a government for the poor. What we have done in five years, Congress couldn’t do in 50 years. I challenge anyone to do the socio-economic audit of our work,” he said, adding, “under Modiji, India’s international prestige, too, has grown hugely.”
Gadkari also spoke about the work done by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and claimed that Ganga will be “100 per cent clean by March next year”.
Gadkari said that he imbibed values of equality and castelessness as a result of the teachings he received as an RSS swayamsevak.
Earlier, BJP’s SC wing chief Vinod Sonkar and Union Social Justice Minister Thavarchand Gehlot also spoke about the various memorials built by the Modi government in the honor of Ambedkar, saying that the Congress had always dragged its feet on many of them like 26, Alipur Road bungalow in Delhi where Ambedkar had died and Mhow town in Madhya Pradesh, now re-named Dr Ambedkar Nagar, where he was born. They also said that various schemes for the poor had largely benefited the Dalits.
A recorded message of PM Modi speaking about his government’s initiatives on developing five places associated with Ambedkar’s life as “Panchtirtha” was being played repeatedly before the programme began.
Among those present also included BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who was scheduled to address the post-inaugural session of the conclave.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will address the concluding function tomorrow. Later in the evening tomorrow, the leaders will address a public rally, called Vijay Sankalpa Diwas, where Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would be the chief guest. Earlier, it was scheduled to be addressed by party president Amit Shah, who will not be present on account of ill-health.