At Bahujan Hunkar Rally, Chandrashekhar Azad Announces He Will Contest Elections From Varanasi
"I want to tell Modi... there is someone who will make you run back to Gujarat," the Bhim Army chief said.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad declared on March 15 that he would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections from Varanasi, a constituency that is currently represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to announce if PM Modi will contest from there once again.
Azad made this announcement at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar during the Bahujan Hunkar rally that rally was organised to mark the 85th birth anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram.
The Indian Express reported that Azad said, “I don’t want to be a politician, I want to be a Bahujan’s son. I want to tell Modi that there is someone who will not let you win easily. There is someone who will make you run back to Gujarat,”
As per a News18 report, the rally had commenced on Sunday from Saharanpur, and it culminated in New Delhi on Friday. The rally was aimed at throwing a challenge at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, to create awareness about the government’s anti-Dalit policies and to protest against the burning of copies of the Constitution by a fringe group in Jantar Mantar last year.
Taking a jab at Modi Azad said, “After the prime minister came to know that we are going to challenge him in Varanasi, he started washing the feet of sanitation workers in Allahabad.”
Azad also called on voters to remember the sacrifice of Rohith Vemula before stepping out to cast their votes. As per ANI, Azad said, “A tyrant is a tyrant, he can never be your (Dalit) well-wisher. That’s why I said we will repeat Bhima Koregaon. The need has not arisen yet, but the day the country’s Constitution is under threat, we will repeat Bhima Koregaon.”
Bhim Army's C. Azad:Vote dene se pehle Rohith ki shahadat yaad rakhna,Atyachari,atyachari hota hai,vo kabhi tumhara hiteshi nahi ho sakta…Isliye maine kaha Bhima-Koregaon dohra denge,abhi uski zarurat nahi ai hai,jis din desh ke samvidhan pe aanch ai,Bhima-Koregaon dohra denge pic.twitter.com/X92UgUX5Rx
— ANI (@ANI) March 15, 2019
As per PTI, Azad alleged that the Narendra Modi government’s decision to give ten per cent quota to the general category poor was an attack on the Constitution and was aimed at serving the BJP’s interests.
Azad raised slogans of “Samvidhaan bachana hai“, calling for the constitution to be protected.
Bhim Army Vice President Manjeet Nautiyal told PTI that they would field a candidate against Smriti Irani and “also on the seats where the SP-BSP alliance is not strong enough to defeat the BJP.”
On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh police took Azad and his supporters into custody for flouting the model code of conduct by using more than the stipulated amount of motorcycles in the rally. Later on, Azad fell ill and had to be admitted to a hospital in Meerut.
Reportedly on Wednesday, Azad was booked on charges of assaulting public servants and defying their orders, besides rioting in a bid to take out a political rally.
PTI reported, in what is being seen as a Dalit outreach move, Congress general secretary for eastern UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday met Azad at the hospital.
The Chandrashekhar-led Bhim Army shot to the limelight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Saharanpur. Chandrashekhar was arrested after the clashes. Though the Allahabad High Court granted him bail, the UP Police arrested him under the stringent National Security Act. He was released in September 2018 after 16 months in jail.
(With PTI inputs)