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'BJP wants to run India according to Manusmriti, not Constitution'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
December 07, 2018 11:17 IST
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'The BJP has been tinkering with the Indian Constitution every now and then.'
'Instead of celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day, the BJP was more interested in (the VHP's) Dharam Sabha which was called that day.'
'This shows they believe more in the Ram mandir than in the Constitution.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Deeksha Bhoomi in Nagpur, April 14, 2017. Photograph: Press Information Bureau of India

Savitribai Phule, the Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament from Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, resigned from the party on Thursday, December 6, after speaking out against its policies over the last few months.

While resigning on a day that marked Dr Ambedkar's 62nd death anniversary, Phule -- a Dalit MP -- said the BJP is dividing Indian society and was not interested in the welfare of the Dalit community, but only in its votes.

Phule has been raising her voice openly against the BJP since April after several states witnessed violence during the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit organisations to protest the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

", " Phule tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.


What led you to quit the BJP?

The ideology of the BJP is to insult and humiliate Dalits and minorities.

India should be run according to the Indian Constitution, but the BJP wants to run it according to Manusmriti (The laws of Manu, an ancient Hindu religious legal text).

I have been feeling this since 2014 and I have raised these concerns even in the Lok Sabha. But being a Dalit, my voice was not heard.

There is a conspiracy going on to change the Indian Constitution and this was stated by BJP Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde.

Even RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief Mohan Bhagwat said (before the Bihar assembly elections in 2015) that they will re-examine caste-based reservations.

You said similar things earlier. Were you not called by senior party leaders to discuss these issues?

In the BJP, Dalits do not get any respect. Dalit leaders do get elected (on reserved seats) on a BJP ticket, but they become slaves of the party.

The BJP has been tinkering with the Indian Constitution every now and then, but not a single Dalit leader has dared to go and speak up against this wrongdoing.

Today, I am a member of Parliament and it is only thanks to reservations. If there were no reservations, I would not have been an MP.

And when I raise issues related to reservations within the party, I am called a rebel. I am only raising the concerns of the Dalit community.

Instead of celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day, the BJP was more interested in (the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's) Dharam Sabha (in Ayodhya) which was called that day.

They were talking of the Ram Mandir that day. This shows they believe more in the Ram mandir than in the Constitution.

You have resigned just months before the elections.

I have been speaking on Dalit issues continuously since 2014. It is not that I have woken up now.

IMAGE: Savitribai Phule addresses a press conference after resigning from the BJP in Lucknow, December 6, 2018. Photograph: Nand Kumar/PTI Photo

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister says Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and you are saying the BJP does not respect Dalits.

If Hanuman was a Dalit and a human, why was he made into a monkey?

He was given as much importance as a monkey, and insulted. In those days they (the upper castes) used to consider Dalits as monkeys. Even now they do that.

Dr Babasaheb's statues are being defiled in Saharanpur, Meerut, Allahabad and ask me where not.

The people who break Dr Babasaheb's statues are never arrested. Why?

The BJP is not a party for Dalits, it only wants their votes.

And when they come to power they insult and humiliate us.

And now the party's attention has completely turned towards a Ram mandir in Ayodhya.

The Ram mandir has always been on the BJP's agenda.

Only Brahmins will benefit from the Ram mandir, not Dalits.

What will Dalits get out of the Ram mandir? Nothing.

These Brahmins scare poor Dalits in the name of god and they run this temple business.

What benefits will the Dalits get out of the Ram mandir?

Are you planning to join any other party like the BSP or SP?

I am working for the Bahujan Samaj and it is my duty to speak up for Dalits.

If a Dalit is wronged, I will raise my voice.

And when I speak my mind, I am called 'neech'. I am insulted.

Did you ever speak to Prime Minister Modi on atrocities against the Dalits?

I have spoken regularly, but till date Dalits have not got justice.

Dalits are not getting reservations in jobs today and they are always insulted.

Dalits do get reservations, don't they?

The Supreme Court said give 27 per cent reservations, but only 5 per cent is being given.

Moreover, Dalits do not get promotions in their jobs. I raised this issue in the Lok Sabha, but no one heard my pleas.

Before resigning from the BJP, did you speak to Modi or tried to meet (BJP national President) Amit (Anilchandra) Shah?

I have told them that they must follow the Constitution as it is the best in the world.

It brings equality in society.

Will India run on its Constitution or the Ram mandir?

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