On Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 38th Foundation Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his party MPs to spend at least two nights in Dalit-dominated villages (having over 50 per cent Dalit population) and restore the faith of the community. PM’s call on the party MPs to reconnect with the Dalits and Adivasis came four days after the entire nation and particularly Northern India was crippled by Bharat Bandh. Called by Dalit groups over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Protection Act, Bharat Bandh saw massive agitations in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and several other states. In order to appease the minority community, BJP CHief Amit Shah also resonated PM Modi’s call and announced that the government will neither scrap the reservation policy nor allow anyone else to do so.
According to a BJP MP, PM has asked all party MPs to spend two nights in villages with at least 50 per cent population of Scheduled Tribes between April 14 (B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary) and May 5. PM while addressing MPs on the last day of the Budget Session also urged to remind people that BJP has always honoured Ambedkar and took measures for the welfare of the Dalits. PM asked the MPs to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, asserted it was mandatory to do so, in their respective constituencies to show that they respect Ambedkar while other parties have limited their help of Dalits to speeches.
PM is also expected to dedicate, 26, Alipur Road, the house where Ambedkar died and which is being turned into a memorial, to the nation. This move is seen as a plan to woo the Dalits before the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. BJP, PM said, will also celebrate the birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule, a social reformer who came from a backward caste, on April 11 as ‘Samta Diwas’ (equality day). Union Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters that PM Modi has said that there are about 20,844 villages with over 50 per cent SC population and tribes and that MPs should work to implement ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’, ‘Jandhan’, ‘Ujjwala’ among others.