Slamming the Congress for ignoring the interests of Dalits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the party had also insulted the architect of India’s Constitution B.R. Ambedkar.
“The Congress has insulted Ambedkar. They have never accepted him. The Congress never had any time for him,” Modi told a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally here, about 200 km northwest of Bengaluru.
Ambedkar (1891-1956) was the country’s first Law Minister and a social reformer who campaigned against the discrimination faced by Dalits.
With a Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind being appointed the country’s President, the Congress has grown “uncomfortable”, said Modi in his 45-minute speech in Hindi, translated in Kannada simultaneously.
“With the highest offices of the country being occupied by people from poor and humble background, the Congress is uncomfortable. That is why now the Congress prefers to mislead people in the name of the Dalit community.
“The Congress doesn’t care about Dalits, it only cares about deals,” he said, accusing the party of being corrupt.
The party also disrespected its own senior leader and former Chief Minister of then Mysore State S. Nijalingappa for questioning then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies, Modi said.
“Nijalingappa, the proud son of this land, was insulted by the family (Congress) because he committed the big crime of questioning the policies of Nehru.”
The ruling Congress was doing “vote bank politics” by celebrating the Jayantis of Sultans instead of the leaders of the land who fought against them, Modi said, referring to Tipu Jayanti, which was celebrated as a state event.
Recalling Onake Obavva, a woman from the 18th century Chitradurga kingdom who fought against then Sultan of Kingdom of Mysore Hyder Ali, he said: “Sadly, the Congress forgets these brave men and women and instead celebrates the Jayantis of Sultans.”
Calling the BJP-led Central government a “compassionate” one, Modi said his party always cared for the welfare of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities.
“It is time for Karnataka to bid farewell to the Congress, which is unconcerned about people’s welfare,” he said.
Karnataka will go to polls on May 12.