Continuing political heat against the ruling party, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday led Congress party’s nationwide day-long fast against caste violence, alleged bank frauds, and the non-functioning of Parliament.
“This is a fight for the ideology and values which India represents. We won’t allow the politics of hatred and division aimed at garnering votes to succeed,” Congress leader RS Surjewala told the press.
It is the duty of the Congress, the party which fought for India’s independence, to ensure that mutual brotherhood, compassion and love, respect for each other, prevails in our society with all its diversity and pluralism, Surjewala said. “That is an idea we will continue to defend,” he said.
Congress workers are observing a daylong fast in all state and district headquarters to voice their protest against the BJP government and to promote communal harmony and peace across the country.
Senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, PC Chacko, the party’s Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken and Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala were among the leaders at Rajghat, where the fast is being observed.
The principal opposition party announced its fast on the last day of Budget Session last week Friday. The session, which was a near washout, saw the two parties clashing on number of issues including multi-crore PNB fraud, Supreme Court ruling on the SC/ST Atrocities Act among other issues.
Meanwhile, the BJP will hold a fast on April 12 against the Congress party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a call for fast in order to protest against the impasse in Parliament for which he blamed the opposition party, especially the Congress.
Party leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, both accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, were asked to not sit on the main stage at the protest venue when Gandhi was about to arrive, party leaders said.
The BJP, on the other hand, mocked Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s fast at Rajghat as a “farce”.
“What we have seen from Rahul Gandhi today is not a fast but the farce of a fast. (It was) an attempt by his party to fast track his politics to burnish his credentials despite people rejecting him time and again,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra 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.
Gandhi should tell them when he plans to sit on a fast against crimes against Dalits in Karnataka, he asked.
(With inputs from PTI)