Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 27 JULY: BJP leader LK Advani, whose ties with RSS had reportedly strained after Narendra Modi’s elevation in the party, today praised the Sangh and said its policy of not discriminating on the basis of caste had helped them win the support of Dalit voters.
Delivering the inaugural address at the National Executive Meeting of the Scheduled Caste Front, Mr Advani said, “RSS never accepted caste and believed that all sections of society are equal.
“When Mahatma Gandhi visited the RSS shakha (meeting) at Wardha he was surprised to see people of different castes sitting together and having a meal,” he said.
He maintained that religious conversions from the Hindu fold had taken place due to caste atrocities.
“The RSS view of not discriminating against people on the basis of caste has played an immense role in the political growth of our party,” Mr Advani said, adding that this attitude of non-discrimination had brought Dalits closer to BJP.
Mr Advani also referred to former BSP chief Kanshi Ram and recalled one of their interactions several years back when he had told the latter that, “what cannot be achieved socially (by Dalits) can be achieved politically”.
Mr Advani had cited the example of RSS shakhas (meetings) held in Punjab to Kanshi Ram, claiming that all sections of society, except Sikhs, used to attend them.
The Sikhs too started attending RSS meetings after BJP and SAD forged an alliance.
The BJP leader has been reportedly unhappy with RSS since the elevation of Mr Modi as the chief of the party’s Election Campaign Committee.
BJP is eyeing the sizeable Dalit vote in the country with a view to increasing its voteshare by 10 per cent.
Other sections on the party’s radar are Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and young voters.
Advani asked the party to gear up for elections in six states and the Lok Sabha polls.
Making a jibe at Congress, Mr Advani said, “The amount of effort that Congress has made in the last three years to make BJP win the next Lok Sabha elections, nobody else has.”