Launching a tirade against PM Narendra Modi and the BJP, newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, on Tuesday said, “Alpesh Thakor, Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani jointly shattered BJP’s arrogant claims of 150 seats and reduced it to 99, which is why we are being targeted.”
The Dalit leader was addressing the second Yuva Hunkar rally that was held in New Delhi. Assam farmer activist Akhil Gogoi, student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Shehla Rashid and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhutan were present in the rally. Held at Parliament Street, despite repeated speculations of being cancelled, the rally was attended by hundreds of members from Dalit community, activists, students and youth.
The rally was organised to raise the demand of releasing Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder of Dalit outfit Bhim Army. Azad was arrested last year in connection with the Thakur-Dalit violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district. “If even an elected representative cannot voice his demand to release Azad, to implement constitutional democracy and to provide employment to country’s two crore youth, then it is following the Gujarat model,” Mevani said. The organisers of the rally had not taken prior permission from Delhi Police to hold the rally.
Student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said the Constitution is facing danger. Taking a dig on BJP’s Rath Yatra, he said, “Rath pe jab Raavan khada hai, to BJP ko Raavan rajya chahiye ya Ram rajya? BJP ko Ram rajya nahi chahiye (When it’s a Raavan standing on the chariot, does BJP want Raavan rajya or Ram rajya?)”
“We want to ask the prime minister one question. In my one hand, there will be Manusmriti and in the other, the Constitution. Which one will you choose?” Mevani questioned.
Meanwhile, social activist Swami Agnivesh, who was also in attendance, speaking to the indianexpress.com, said, “I believe it is our responsibility to fail the government’s tactics to quash the voices of dissent in the country.”