Yesterday, October 24 saw a mammoth 35,000 strong (Ekta Mahapanchayat) rally of OBCs, STs and SCs at the historic Phool Baug Maidan at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
Addressed by fiery Dalit leader and Icon Chandrashekhar Azad, the crowd was mesmerized by his scathing attack on the Modi regime in Delhi. Madhya Pradesh goes to the elections on November 28, 2018, the same day as Mizoram.
“Chai Wallah Chor Hai,” said Chandrashekhar referring to the epithet used to describe Narendra Modi. “There are 35 lakh people in the country who earn less than Rs 20 a day, there are 30 lakh Indians who have only one meal each day, and this government is tell us things are hunky dory?” he demanded. He warned against making a (second) mistake of allowing the BJP to come to power. He also announced that the Bhim Army would host a historic rally at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi in December this year.
Azad, flanked by other leaders of the Bhim Army, warned of the proto-fascist agenda of the RSS and BJP. “They want to change the Constitution, they want to bring the Manu Smriti back. It is the Constitution that gives us Equality, Non-Discrimination and Fraternity,” he warned. “What will the oppressed and marginalised sections do if the Constitutional Edifice is removed and replaced by a Theocracy? Changing the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj is part of this wider game, to change the Constitution, “ warned Azad. He also called for an egalitarian politics where women and men walk in every endeavour together.
A video of the speech may be heard here:
On September 13, over a month ago, the Uttar Pradesh govt had, suddenly, ordered the release of Bhim Army chief from jail. Azad obtained bail in 27 criminal cases heaped on him, after which the draconian NSA was imposed on him, first in November 2017. The most significant was the re-promulgation of the order on Republic Day this year, reported exclusively by Sabrangindia. At 2 a.m. on September 13, Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan returned to his village. As news of his release spread, thousands thronging to meet him today in his village near Shabbirpur.
Chandrashekhar, the founder of Bhim Army — a group of Dalit youth — has been a leader with mass appeal threatening the established political leadership. In his village and neighbourhood in Saharanpur (especially Shabbirpur) where many consider him to be a crusader for social justice. His and his group’s growing influence in the region was seen to have been a part of a stronger Dalit voice that has risen in the last couple of years. His electrifying speech, where he stated that "India is Threatened by Brahmanism Not Muslims" (May 2017) had clearly threatened the saffron establishment.
On May 13, 2017 days after he was incarcerated by the current regime Justice PB Sawant, retired Supreme Court judge and others through Sabrangindia had strongly petitioned for his release. Even after the Uttar Pradesh administration had started hounding him, this fire brand leader took the battle to Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. In a flash protest that drew at least 20,000 persons he proclaimed, “Brahmanaism not Muslims are the enemies of India”
Since his release, Chandrashekhar Azad has vowed to tour the country to ensure a vibrant social movement of Dalit-Bahujans. Though reactions to this firebrand leader from BSP party chief Mayawati have been premature, Chandrashekhar has, a few days back maturely proclaimed that ‘BSP and BSP alone is the natural political choice for the Bahujan.’ "Our party of choice is the BSP and it would be great for the country to have a Dalit prime minister."