New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government poses a “threat” to the country’s democracy and Constitution, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani said on Tuesday at a youth rally for which the Delhi Police had refused permission.
“The way in which Hardik (Patel), Alpesh (Thakore) and Jignesh (Mevani) with the support of the youth in Gujarat brought the BJP down from over 150 seats (target set by BJP in Gujarat) to 99 seats… That is the reason we are being targetted,” newly-elected MLA from Vadgam in Gujarat told his Yuva Hunkar rally in New Delhi.
The 37-year-old lawyer activist termed the refusal to grant permission to the ‘Yuva Hunkar’ rally in Parliament Street an example of the “Gujarat model” of politics.
“The 125 crore people of this country are watching that someone is not being allowed to speak for merely demanding the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, effective implementation of the Constitution and two crore jobs to the youth. If an elected representative does not have the right to do so, then this is Gujarat model,” Mevani said to loud cheers from a crowd comprising student activists from Delhi, Lucknow and Allahabad among other places.
Mevani said he will stand guard against the politics of hatred and stick to constitutional values and the “politics of love”, along the lines of statements made by Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the Gujarat polls.
“I believe in politics of unity. I believe in politics of love, not love jihad. Alpesh Thakore, Hardik Patel and I are being targeted because we demolished their (BJP) pride and arrogance in Gujarat..There’s a looming threat to our democracy and Constitution today,” he said.
“We are not supporters of love jihad, we are ‘pyaar ishq muhabbat’ supporters, and therefore, we will April 14 and Valentine’s Day as well,” Jignesh Mevani said.
The rally — held in Parliament Street in the heart of the national capital where prohibitory orders are in force through the year — was demanding the release of Dalit outfit Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad.
Azad (30) was arrested in June last year from Himachal Pradesh as he is the main accused in Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district. His supporters turned up with posters bearing his image.
The gathering also sought to emphasise issues like educational rights, employment, livelihood and gender justice.
Some 1,500 security personnel in riot gear, with tear gas launchers and water cannons, were deployed on Parliament Street. As many as 42 organisation — parties, associations and student groups — took part in the rally.