BJP weakening Constitution, paying lip service to Ambedkar: Congress
People's issues are not being discussed in Parliament, even though crores of rupees are being spent on a new Parliament building, the Congress alleged
The Congress accused the BJP-led Centre on Friday of attacking and weakening the Constitution and paying only lip service to its architect, BR Ambedkar.
On Ambedkar's birth anniversary, senior Congress leader Kumari Selja alleged that incidents of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and tribal communities have gone up under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime, and accused the ruling party of weakening the social security of the SCs, Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
She said the Congress is committed towards ensuring social justice for the oppressed communities and promised that it will set up a national council of social justice, introduce a socio-economic caste census and bring a "Rohith Vemula Act" to protect SC, ST and OBC students in educational institutions across the country.
"Although the prime minister, the BJP and the RSS pay lip service to Babasaheb Ambedkar, they are destroying everything he worked to achieve in his life and are attacking the Constitution, weakening the economic position and social security of Dalits and backward classes, and spreading hatred," Selja told reporters here.
"The Congress is strongly committed to social justice for all communities. In our Raipur resolution, we have committed to systematic efforts, reversing the (Narendra) Modi government's attack on social justice through measures, including creating a new national council of social justice, conducting a socio-economic caste census along with the census every decade, passing a Rohith Vemula Act to protect SC, ST and OBC students in educational institutions and ensuring an effective implementation of the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act," she added.
Alleging that the Constitution drafted by Ambedkar is under attack, the Congress leader said people's issues are not being discussed in Parliament, even though crores of rupees are being spent on a new Parliament building while preventing the existing one from functioning.
"We cannot talk about any people's issue -- unemployment, inflation or the Adani scam. A budget of Rs 45 lakh crore of public money is passed without any discussion," she said.
Selja alleged that institutions are being misused and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are being used to target the BJP's political rivals as 95 per cent of the cases filed by these agencies are against opposition leaders.
"The BJP's washing machine removes cases against leaders who join that party," she said.
Claiming that pressure is being exerted on the judiciary, the Congress leader said the law minister has slowly increased his open attacks on the judicial system and now started calling retired judges "anti-national".
"The law minister himself admitted that a former CJI had written asking for protection from online trolls. We saw the spectacle a few years ago of sitting judges warning of danger to the judiciary," she said.
Selja said Ambedkar wanted the Constitution to reign supreme, bring equality between people belonging to all castes and communities and the government to work for the welfare of Dalits and all communities oppressed by the caste system.
She also said over the last week, people have seen how the prime minister makes a big "tamasha" of small events, including the online inauguration of a train, visiting a safari, personally giving appointment letters for positions such as train manager, ticket clerk and postal assistant.
Noting that Ambedkar had warned against this kind of hero-worship, she wondered if his last words -- "in politics, bhakti is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship" -- may prove prophetic and urged "bhakts" to listen to his wise words.
The Congress general secretary also claimed that cases of atrocities are rising every year under the current government as the crime rate against Dalits and adivasis has gone up by a third.
Referring to data complied by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), she said in 2021, 50,900 crimes were committed against SCs, a 32-per cent increase from 38,670 such incidents recorded in 2015, adding that there were 8,802 crimes against STs in 2021, a 34-per cent increase from 6,568 registered in 2016.
"The vicious statements against religious minorities are only step one on the BJP-RSS agenda, where minorities, Dalits, adivasis, OBCs are reduced to second-class citizens," Selja alleged.
Dalits are bearing the brunt of the growing economic inequality under this "suit-boot sarkar" as the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer, she said, adding that the poorest 20 per cent Indians have seen their real income fall by nearly 50 per cent and the lower-middle class by 25 per cent, even as the richest 20 per cent have seen a more than 40 per cent growth in their wealth.
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