Gujarat Dalit leader holds ‘positive dialogue’ with Rahul

Valsad: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi interacts with farmers during a programme in Valsad district of Gujarat on Nov 3, 2017.

Navsari (Gujarat), Nov 3 After OBC leader Alpesh Thakore joined the Congress, Gujarat Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi here on Friday and said it was at least willing to have a dialogue with them as against the “arrogant” BJP.

Mevani clarified that he was not joining the Congress but stressed that he along with all Dalit organisations and activists would go all out to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Assembly elections.

“Right since the Una incident one-and-a-half years ago and even before, there has been simmering anger among all Dalit organisations and activists against the arrogant attitude of the BJP government,” he told the media after meeting Gandhi at a farm house in Navsari town in south Gujarat.

“Forget about looking into our demands, they did not even care to have a dialogue with us,” Mevani added.

Flanked by the Congress scion, Mevani addressed the media from a bus in which Gandhi was travelling during his campaign in the region.

Mevani, a lawyer fighting land rights cases of Dalits, said: “We have a charter of 17 demands for justice and Rahulji has agreed to implement most of them if the Congress comes to power.”

He claimed it was heartening that the Congress leader had a dialogue. “In fact, on 90 per cent of our demands, he said these were not merely demands but our constitutional rights which are being denied by the BJP,” Mevani said.

“Rahulji called us in a pro-active approach. There was discussion, there was debate, there was a dialogue. He has promised to include most of our demands in the Congress manifesto. We will do everything to defeat the anti-people BJP.”

The Dalit activist said there would be more meetings with Gandhi. Right now he was not joining the Congress.

Gandhi, speaking in Hindi, said: “There is no section of the society that is happy in Gujarat. Be it Jignesh, Hardik or Alpesh, they are all representatives of the all-pervasive anger and frustration.”

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming him, Gandhi said: “A Congress government will listen to the people’s Mann Ki Baat and not impose our own Mann Ki Baat.”

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