Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is set to accept a giant national flag made by Dalit community members, which was earlier allegedly rejected by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. The flag, made by Dalit community members, was presented to Rupani but officials reportedly refused to accept it citing lack of space. As per a report, the 125 feet wide and 83.3 feet long flag will be presented to Gandhi when he visits the Dalit Shakti Kendra near Sanand. Congress deputy chief will be a two-day visit to poll-bound Gujarat. Dalit leader Martin Macwan said that India’s largest national flag was supposed to be handed over to Rupani with a request that chief ministers take steps to end untouchability practices. He further alleged the flag was not accepted by officials of Gandhinagar Collectorate on behalf of the Chief Minister. The officials said that they don’t have enough space to keep the flag and shall inform once available. “This is the insult of an Indian national flag prepared by Dalits from 10 states,” said Macwan, who heads the Navsarjan Trust, which works for Scheduled Caste community in Gujarat. Macwan added the unique flag is made out of khadi cloth and has been designed and coloured by 100 Dalit Shakti Kendra students and teachers who worked on it for 25 days.
He further said the 125 feet length of the flag signifies 125 years of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary this year. “We approached the Chief Minister’s office on August 3… The CMO did not respond… Thereafter we approached the Collector who refused citing lack of space,” said Macwan. A press release by the organisation said that Rahul Gandhi will accept the national flag with full respect and dignity on behalf of citizens of India. “Rahul will vow to make India free from touchability practices… This is a historical move by a politician to fight back the forces which are promoting anti-nationalism by insulting national pride,” the release said.
In another related development, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani recently addressed a gathering of around 2,000 members of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch in Ahmedabad’s Odhav industrial area. The crowd gathered in the meeting pledged in the name of Ambedkar that they will never vote for “anti-Dalit, anti-poor and anti-Constitutional BJP. “The real power are the working class but they have been pushed to the margins. You are the creator of everything we use and still you are not given your rights. You fight for even basic necessities. It is time for all this to change,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.