Dalit votes make them important for politicians: Paswan

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New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Blaming the Congress for the poor state of Dalits in the country, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday said it was their votes that attracted politicians to them.

“Who would have approached the Dalits had they no voting power? Had not the Dalits been given the right to vote, do you think (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi would have gone to their homes and eaten food with them,” Paswan told reporters here.

“The Dalits got the voting rights on the basis of the Poona pact between Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.

The Minister was replying to a query about Gandhi’s allegations of increasing atrocities on Dalits since Narenddra Modi became the Prime Minister.

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“It is fine that you go to their places. But do something for them when you come to power. Who is responsible if even after 70 years of independence that Dalits are subjected to atrocities? Is it the (NDA) government of the last 48 months or the government of 48 years (by Congress)?” asked Paswan, whose LJP is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

Taking a dig at the Congress leader, he said: “If Rahul Gandhi eats food at a Dalit’s house, it is a good thing. But it is not the case if (BJP President) Amit Shah does the same.”

Paswan said the community had always been important to Indian politics and the Congress suffered electoral defeats in the past because it cheated them.

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