Updated: April 10, 2022 4:22:35 am
The Congress reached out to BSP supremo Mayawati for an alliance ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and even offered her the Chief Minister’s post, but she did not even respond, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said here Saturday, suggesting that it was because she was under pressure from investigating agencies of the Central government. “She left the field open. Why?” Gandhi said, adding: “The CBI, ED, Pegasus…”
Speaking at a book launch event, the Congress leader said: “You must have seen that Mayawati did not fight the elections. We had sent a message to Mayawati, let’s have an alliance, you be the Chief Minister. She did not even talk. Those people… like Kanshi Ramji… I respect him a lot. They gave blood and sweat to awaken the Dalit voice in Uttar Pradesh… It is another matter that the Congress suffered losses (due to it)… but today Mayawati is saying she will not fight for that voice.”
Accusing the government of not allowing “implementation of the Constitution”, he said Pegasus was used to control politicians. “Had I taken one rupee, I would not be standing here giving this speech. I would have been sitting in that corner. So Pegasus, CBI, ED… they control the political system.” The Constitution can be implemented through institutions, he said, “but they have captured all the institutions… If institutions are not in our hands, then the Constitution is also not in our hands.”
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During the Assembly elections, Congress general secretary in-charge of UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had repeatedly asserted that the party would fight the polls alone.
Gandhi was addressing a gathering after the launch of the book ‘The Dalit Truth — Battles For Realising Ambedkar’s Vision’, edited by former bureaucrat and his close aide K Raju.
The former Congress president added that he has never sought power. “There are many politicians who are just interested in power and that is the only thing they are looking for. They wake up in the morning and think about how to secure power. They do that till night. They wake up the next day and start thinking the same thing again. India today is filled with such people,” Gandhi said, adding he was different.
LIVE: The Dalit Truth – Book launch at Jawahar Bhawan, New Delhi https://t.co/GxhF5z976b
“But I have a problem. It is strange. I was born in the midst of power… I am not interested in it. I am speaking the truth. I sleep at night… trying to understand my country. I wake up in the morning… (I) love this country. Like a lover who wants to understand the person he loves… I try to understand. In a way, I am a beggar. Why? Because my country has without any reason showered me with love. So, it is a debt. And I wake up in the morning and think about this love and respect that this country has given me… how do I pay back?” he said.
Gandhi said he had also faced setbacks, but it was all good learning. “Desh ne sirf mujhe pyar nahin diya, desh be mujhe jhoote bi maare. You cannot understand, jitni zoron se, jitni hinsa se, is desh ne mujhe mara hai, peeta hai (But the country has not given me just love, it has thrown shoes at me. You cannot understand how hard, with what violence, I have been hit). I thought why is this happening. I got the answer. The country wants to teach me, the country is saying you learn and understand. It doesn’t matter even if it pains you, learn and understand,” he said.
Gandhi went on to recall his visit to Gujarat to meet the Dalit families that were victims of the 2016 Una flogging incident, and his conversation with the father of one of the Dalits youths assaulted. Gandhi said the father told him that several Dalit boys had attempted suicide after the Una incident, and that he had gone to meet one of them in hospital.
Gandhi said the youths told him they were driven to suicide after seeing the video of the assault. “It came to my mind that had I been in his place and decided to take my life, before dying I would have beaten up the person who assaulted my brother… that had somebody tied up my sister and beaten her like a dog… before committing suicide I would have at least stabbed him.”
Gandhi said he does not harbour hate for the killers of his father Rajiv Gandhi, but “when I was in that hospital, I thought that had this happened to me… mein maar deta (I would have hit back)”.
According to Gandhi, he mentioned the same to the Dalit youth who had tried to kill himself, that “before committing suicide I would have found out who assaulted my brother… taken out a knife and stabbed him in the chest”. “His face turned white. He said, ‘What are you saying?… Haven’t you understood, don’t you know that if I beat him, I would be born again as a Dalit?.”
Gandhi added: “I then understood. I realised he was carrying the burden of thousands and lakhs of lives on his shoulders.”
He went on to quote a line that he attributed to a book written on V D Savarkar. “He said that the day he was the happiest was the day his friends and he beat up a Muslim boy.”
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