New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) NDA-ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on Monday announced rallies and meetings across the country to highlight what it said were decisions taken by the Modi government to “protect the interests of Dalits and backward classes”.
These rallies over the coming months will also point to the Congress’ antipathy towards Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar and backward classes, said party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan here.
“I had the responsibility to change public perception about the NDA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as anti-Dalit and anti-backward. Now, I am happy that no political party says it now,” Paswan told reporters.
This month, the BJP-led NDA government overturned a Supreme Court March 20 order that “diluted” The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which had put safeguards against arrests in such cases.
The SC order led to a nationwide uproar, with the LJP threatening to protest if the Act was not restored to its original form. Subsequently, the government introduced a bill in Parliament for the purpose.
“We are defending the government because it has done historic work. It is pro-poor and pro-Dalit,” Paswan said.
A rally will be held in Punjab’s Faridkot on August 30 and later in Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Bengaluru.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Paswan said that the party had fielded candidates against Ambedkar in the general elections, and also failed to put up his portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament.
He said that the Congress could have made a Muslim the Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh in the past but it did not.
He also criticised Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati for issuing an order in May 2007 as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, barring arrest in a complaint of atrocities until the matter is investigated by a senior police official and seeking of medical certificate in case of rape.
“Mayawati must hold a press conference to explain the matter. If it is not true, I will resign. Else, she must retire from politics,” he said.
The LJP leader also said that there was no resentment among the people from the upper castes over restoration of provisions of the SC/ST Act.