BJP embarks on mega programme to woo Dalits
New Delhi: In an effort to reach out to the Dalits after facing attacks over "dilution" of the SC/ST Atrocities Act, the BJP on Friday said that it has embarked on a massive programme that will take party leaders to over 20,000 Dalit and tribal majority villages.
The programme "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" was finalised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here at a meeting of BJP parliamentarians, where he also accused the Congress of playing "divisive politics" and asked the members to observe a hunger strike on April 12 to protest against the complete washout of the second edition of the budget session.
The programme will begin on the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar on April 14 and will end on May 5.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters that Modi has asked party leaders to spend at least one night between April 14 and May 5 in the villages with over 50 per cent the population comprising Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The leaders will take stock of the implementation of government welfare schemes.
"It will be mandatory for all the party workers to hold various programmes at every level on April 14," a BJP leader who was present in the meeting told IANS.
"They have been asked to hold cycle or motorcycle rallies and yatras. The purpose of this programme is to connect the leaders with the people directly and to publicise the government schemes.
"Without exception, everybody will have to go to the villages," the leader added.
During the meeting, Modi asked the MPs and other party leaders to publicise the government's "saptrishi programmes" that includes "Indradhanush", "Jan dhan" and BHIM App.
"We have to live for the people of the country," Modi said.
Modi also lashed out at the Congress for disrupting parliamentary proceedings and asked party leaders to hold nation wide hunger strike at every level from booth to district.
"Due to our increasing strength the opposition is doing divisive politics," Ananth Kumar told reporters quoting Modi.
According to a BJP leader, the Prime Minister said: "Congress has crushed the voice of democracy and abused the mandate of people. Functioning of parliament stooped to a new low in this part of budget session due to atrocious behaviour of Congress."
Modi also asked the party leaders to observe April 11, the birth anniversary of anti-caste social reformer Jyotiba Phule, as "samata diwas" across the country.
During his address, the Prime Minister also recalled the sacrifices of thousands of party workers including its founder members Shyama Prasad Mukerjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
He asked party MPs and their families to watch Marathi mega-play "Janata Raja", based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj at Lal Quila recalling that how he travelled from Gujarat to Pune to watch this play some 30 years ago.