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Politics around hunger strike

Politics around hunger strike
After the Congress chief Rahul Gandhi led his partymen to a fast at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial, Rajghat, in Delhi on Monday, BJP has planned a fast by its leaders and party workers across the country on Thursday. While Rahul's fast was against the government's non-performance on a range issues, more notably the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, CBSE paper leak, agrarian crisis, banking scam and violence against Dalits and Minorities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will lead partyment to a fast on Thursday to protest the opposition's irresponsible behaviour in Parliament. Congress said that Gandhi's fast was an attempt to "promote communal harmony" and to protest against the clashes during the Dalit protests on April 2 in which more than 10 innocent people were killed. Terming the PM Modi and his government anti-Dalit, the Congress president declared that his party would defeat the BJP in 2019 general elections. "The atmosphere that has been created in the country, it is due to the ideology of BJP. BJP's ideology is to divide the country, crush the Dalits, tribals, minorities... We are against the ideology of the BJP. We are standing against it today, we will stand against it throughout our lives. And we will defeat them in the 2019 elections," Rahul Gandhi told media persons. The Congress party's fast was also aimed at exposing the government on the banking scam, paper leaks of SSC and CBSE and Parliament washout, where the Parliament could not function in the second part of the budget session amid continuing disruptions. Congress' five-hour hunger strike was a pre-emptive move against the BJP's plan for its fast on Thursday. BJP has planned a nationwide fast by party workers in protest of the washout of the parliament session. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Party president Amit Shah too will participate in the fast. As Congress and BJP are organising hunger strikes, the showdown between the two parties ahead of the 2019 elections may have well begun. Through the hunger-strike, BJP intends to send the message across the country that despite its honest intentions, the opposition did not allow the Parliament to function during the budget session. Since BJP's hunger strike is an all-India event, the party is trying to mobilise its workers throughout the country. The exercise will bring all BJP workers to their party offices and collectively they will participate in the fast. This would help mobilise party workers on an all-India level. In the recent weeks, opposition parties hogged headlines with their efforts to unite opposition parties into a grand alliance. BJP had not reacted to such efforts by trying to revamp the NDA and initiating a dialogue with NDA partners. However, BJP president Amit Shah has said that the opposition parties are trying to come together as their existence is in danger in view of the massive support that BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys in the country. Shah likened the coming together of the opposition leaders to a bunch of animals who come together to save their lives when flood hits their abode. He referred to the inherent incompatibility of the opposition parties. Shah said this at public rallies in Karnataka where the Assembly elections will be held on May 12. Shah will be holding his fast in Hubli in Karnataka exactly one month before the elections. Ever since the April 2 all-India strike called by Dalit outfits, the Congress chief has been talking about atrocities and discriminations against Dalits and minorities. West Bengal and Bihar have recently witnessed communal tension during and after the Ramnavmi. On Tuesday, Bihar witnessed a general strike by some anti-reservation fronts. They clashed with Dalit outfits and at least 12 districts of the state witnessed confrontations that affected normal life. Protesters blocked roads and took out marches amid slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Jai Bheem'. BJP leaders have accused the opposition parties of instigating the Dalits and inciting violence. As the elections draw closer, there is every likelihood that this kind of clashes will escalate. In this backdrop, holding a hunger-strike is a good idea. Such hunger strikes can help reduce the tempers of the opposing camps and keep them grounded to basic issues. Though hunger strikes are an essential part of Indian politics, it has gone out of fashion these days.

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