When I announced to fight from Varanasi, Modi could be seen washing feet of our brothers: Bhim Army chiefhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/chandrashekhar-azad-varanasi-narendra-modi-dalit-2019-elections-bhim-army-5628437/

When I announced to fight from Varanasi, Modi could be seen washing feet of our brothers: Bhim Army chief

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi "anti-Dalit" and urged people to throw him out of power in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

When I announced to fight from Varanasi, Modi could be seen washing feet of our brothers: Bhim Army chief
Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Azad at ‘Hunkar Rally’ in New Delhi. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)

Setting the tone for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi “anti-Dalit” and urged people to throw him out of power.

“I am going to Banaras and I will need your help to defeat him. I am going there because he is anti-Dalit and he must know that he will be punished for it. He must know, in democracy, the public is everything,” Azad said while addressing a gathering in a ‘Hunkar Rally’ at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

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Taking a dig at PM Modi for washing the feet of sanitation workers who worked at the Kumbh mela, Azad said, “When I announced we will fight from Banaras, Modi could be seen washing feet of our brothers.” He also called on voters to remember the sacrifice of Rohith Vemula before stepping out to cast their votes.

Stating that he does not aspire to be a politician, Azad pointed out that he wants to send out a message to Modi that “there is someone who will not let you win easily.”

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“I don’t want to be a politician, I want to be a bahujan’s son. I want to tell Modi that there is someone who will not let you win easily. There is someone who will make you run back to Gujarat,” he said.

On Thursday, the Bhim Army chief had confirmed that he will contest against PM Modi this time and said the outfit will also put up a candidate against another high-profile BJP leader, Union Minister Smriti Irani.

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“Our aim is to defeat the BJP. That is why I am contesting against Modi. We have not yet decided who we will put up against Smriti Irani or in any other constituency,” Chandrashekhar had said after being discharged from a Meerut hospital where he was admitted following his detention in Deoband.

Meanwhile, the Bhim Army is planning to put up its own candidates or support those who are not part of the SP-BSP alliance in seats where the “gathbandhan is not strong enough” in UP. This move could come as a setback for the BSP with weeks to go for the Lok Sabha elections.

Given the support Bhim Army enjoys in western UP among Dalits, particularly the young, the decision could spell trouble for the SP-BSP alliance. Bhim Army sources said they will put up and support candidates from the Bahujan community, largely from Dalits, Muslims and backward castes, which is a votebank that the SP and BSP hope to consolidate.