The political squabble between the Congress and the BJP over Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad Central University has intensified further. BJP flayed Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi hours after he joined a day-long fast with the agitating students on Saturday. Gandhi also took part in a midnight candle-light march at the campus late Friday night expressing solidarity with the protest.
On its part, the ruling party BJP has now accused Congress and its deputy leader Rahul Gandhi of using students as a “political tool”.
“Congress is shedding crocodile tears simply to gain political mileage. Congress and communist parties are trying to make this a political issue and making a beeline to the university, forgetting that 9 such incidents happened during the UPA rule,” Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
“This is part of their anti-Modi campaign across the country,” he added in a press conference held at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
The ruling party, which is facing flak over the issue especially after an FIR was filed against Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya along with VC Appa Rao and three others, claimed further that Gandhi’s protests reflected Congress party’s “frustration”.
“At a place where students go for study, Rahul Gandhi is trying to vitiate its atmosphere. It shows how much frustrated Congress is that it is doing politics over a student’s death. Such a divisive politics is poisonous and BJP condemns it,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
Criticising Rahul Gandhi even more, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said his fast was a classic case of trying to score “political brownie points”.
The Congress leader should not act as a judge as the HRD ministry had already ordered a judicial inquiry and the matter was also before a court, Patra said adding that it was not a Dalit vs non-Dalit issue and “passion should not be stoked”.
The issue has assumed serious political proportions with the allegations that Rohith Vemula, who would have turned 27 today, was compelled to take the extreme step after series of discrimination against Dalit students at the behest of senior BJP leader and Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
Various political parties and leaders have blamed Dattatreya’s August 17, 2015 letter to Union HRD minister Smriti Irani where he demanded action against what he allegedly termed as “anti national activities” of a student outfit and the alleged assault of an ABVP leader. Post his letter, HRD ministry wrote to the University authorities five times between Sept 3 and Nov 19 demanding follow up action.
Irani, however, claimed that her ministry was only following the standard protocol adopted in accordance with the Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure.
Upping its ante against the BJP, the principal opposition party had even demanded the sacking of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. The latter has been named in the FIR lodged by Telangana police after the suicide of 26-year-old Dalit Ph. D scholar on Sunday.
(With inputs from the PTI)