Expressing his intention to contest from the same seat as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said on Friday, “When I announced we will fight from Banaras, Modi could be seen washing the feet of our brothers.”
Azad was speaking at his Bhim Hunkar Rally at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar after being hospitalised in Meerut, where he was visited by Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia two days ago. With a drip attached to his hand, Azad addressed a 5,000-strong crowd about Bhim Army’s political moves.
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“Should I let Modi win from there? Do you want me to go there and defeat Modi? Do you want Modi to re-enter Parliament? Will you help me in defeating him?” he asked as the crowd cheered. “If I wanted to be an MP, I would have gone the reserved route. I don’t want to be a politician, I want to be a ‘bahujan ka beta’. I want to tell Modi there is someone who will not let you win easily. There is someone who will make you run back to Gujarat.”
Asking the people to remember the sacrifice of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the caste violence in Shabbirpur, Bhima Koregaon and Phagwara before voting, Azad warned the government of dire consequences if the Constitution is harmed. “A tyrant is a tyrant, he can never be a well-wisher. That is why I said, we will repeat Bhima Koregaon. There is no need for it now, but if there is any problem to the Constitution, we will repeat it,” he said.
Criticising Modi’s treatment of the Dalit community, he said, “I want to go to Banaras because he (Modi) is anti-Dalit, and he must know that in this country, you will be punished for being anti-Dalit.”
Azad also slammed the government’s alleged tactics of preventing him from addressing rallies. “By shutting down internet in the rally, today the government proved they are afraid of us. In UP, by cancelling our rallies at places, they proved that they are weak.”
He also slammed the government for doing politics over the Pulwama attack. “We will not the BJP bloom a lotus with the blood of those brave jawans who lost their lives in Pulwama,” he said.
LJD leader Sharad Yadav shared the stage with Azad, claiming that he had been invited by him and that he wholeheartedly supported his cause. While Azad had earlier claimed that Bhim Army and Congress are not “natural allies”, he reiterated his support for the alliance on Friday. “We are extending support to the alliance for 79 seats. And we will expect support for the remaining one seat which is Varanasi,” he told mediapersons in Ambedkar Bhawan.