NEW DELHI: BJP ally and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan today questioned the pro-Dalit credentials of opposition parties including Congress and fired off fourteen questions seeking reply from its president Rahul Gandhi.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the quick passage of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities bill) in the Parliament to address concerns of Dalits and tribals.
"I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, he claims himself to be a well-wisher of Dalits, but why did his party stand against Dalit icon B R Ambedkar when he contested Lok Sabha elections twice? Why there was no portrait of Ambedkar in Parliament's Central hall while there were portraits of three members of the Nehru family? Why his party did not award Ambedkar with Bharat Ratna when it was in power while filmstars were awarded?," Paswan asked Gandhi while addressing members from Dalit community and party workers here.
Other questions raised by the Union Minister were, why OBC commission was not granted constitutional status during Congress rule, and non-construction of memorials where Ambedkar was born, where he lived (in Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur) and London where he died.
Congratulating the Prime Minister for the passage of a bill in Parliament to amend the atrocities act, Paswan said, "We were confident that the bill will be passed but were not hoping that it will happen so soon that a Cabinet meeting will be called during Parliament session only and the bill will be subsequently passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. I want to now ask the opposition parties that why are we called anti-Dalits?" The Dalit leader also accused BSP chief Mayawati of playing "double standards" saying her government had issued a guideline in October 2007 against the misuse of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and said that police should register a case only after probing a complaint made under this law.
Questioning the Samajwadi Party Paswan said, "When all parties were in favour of a bill for reservation in promotion for Dalits why did SP oppose it then? Like all the opposition parties, they are also anti-Dalits and so is the grand alliance".
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities amendment bill) which overturns the Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the SC and ST law was passed by the Parliament on Thursday.
The bill which got the nod of Lok Sabha on August 6 rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs notwithstanding any court order.
It also provides that no preliminary enquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law will not be subject to any approval.