Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Congress observes day-long fast across India for communal harmony, BJP mocks

Congress observes day-long fast across India for communal harmony, BJP mocks

"Instead of looking at the country's progress, they (the BJP) are looking at what Congress leaders are eating". Lovely, who recently returned to the Congress after spending some time with the BJP, first denied it was the day's picture, but later acknowledged it. He added that PM Modi is an anti-Dalit person and he does not have any place for Dalits in his heart.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi led the protest, where he was accompanied by senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sheila Dikshit, Ashok Gehlot and Ajay Maken.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots cast a shadow over the "Sadhbhawna Upwas" (fast for harmony) with Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, listed as accused for their alleged role in the riots, being asked to stay away from the stage where Gandhi and the other leaders were sitting.

In what can be termed as a major embarrassment for the Congress party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed that some of the Congress leaders had "chhole bhature" in a restaurant early Mondaymorning before sitting on fast at Rajghat in New Delhi.

Gandhi also alleged that the atmosphere created in the country was because of the BJP's ideology "to divide the country and crush Dalits, crush tribals and minorities".

Asked about BJP Dalit MPs writing to Modi with their complaints, Gandhi said: "You talk to them in Parliament". The BJP has claimed that purported picture is clicked just before the Congress was about to start its hunger strike at Rajghat.

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"The Congress has fallen into its own trap. (It was) an attempt by his party to fast track his politics to burnish his credentials despite people rejecting him time and again", Sambit Patra told reporters.

Defending "feast before fast", Lovely admitted that the picture was taken before 8 am.

The Congress has been "jolted" by the Dalits' growing association of with the BJP, he said.

Citing figures of anti-Dalit violence in five years of the Congress rule in the poll-bound Karnataka, he said the state had reported 9,080 cases crimes against the community and over 358 Dalits were killed. "The approach that this government has against Dalits, tribals, minorities and farmers, we are standing against it", he said.

Speaking to reporters at Rajghat, Gandhi also said the grand old party will defeat the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 general election. "Rahul Gandhi can not wake up early, he can not skip a meal and he is talking about bringing change in the country", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.

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