Seize Rafale files to reveal truth: Congress

The Congress on Sunday demanded a seizure of all Rafale-related documents to establish the truth behind the deal, alleging Prime Minister Narendra Modi alone knew the facts and had hidden them from other ministers and officials.

“In the face of new revelations, there is no doubt that the Prime Minister has got rattled. But he is not answering specific questions regarding the price of the Rafale jets and offset contracts, and how and at what stage the public-sector HAL was ousted,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said.

“Our demand is that all related files be seized and forensic audit of the tender documents be done,” he added, asking that a joint parliamentary committee be allowed to examine these documents.

The Congress alleges that Modi had pressured the French to give the Rafale offset contract to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, bypassing HAL, while keeping the defence and foreign ministries in the dark.

Sharma said the Prime Minister’s state visits have “a fixed agenda with joint statements discussed in advance and the draft exchanged before the start of the tour”.

So, he asked, “when the foreign secretary says two days before (Modi’s) visit (to France in April 2015) that Rafale is not on the agenda (and) confirms ongoing negotiations with HAL, how come the decision to purchase 36 aircraft is taken?”

“It is important to see whether the draft exchanged with the French government mentioned the plan to purchase 36 fighter jets instead of the (UPA) negotiated 108 aircraft. The foreign secretary’s statement is clear (that) it was not mentioned,” Sharma said.

“Dassault chief Eric Trappier too confirmed HAL as the partner but suddenly Ambani comes in. We have said the Prime Minister will have to explain this. Or the documents will bear the truth out. The Prime Minister alone is responsible as the entire administration was kept in the dark.”

Sharma echoed Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to France last week was a cover-up mission, necessitated by reports quoting former French President Francois Hollande as saying the Indian government had proposed Reliance as the offset partner.

“Hence, the defence minister has gone there to manage the crisis created by former President Francois Hollande, who spoke the truth on the offset contract. Otherwise, what is the reason for the visit now?”

Sharma also accused Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley of misleading the country on the state of the economy, arguing that most of the indicators pointed to a grim reality and that even the foreign exchange reserves were falling.

He said an outflow of $30 billion (Rs 2.2 lakh crore) had been reported, around Rs 84,000 crore of it in the first quarter of this financial year.

“How can the fastest growing economy have the worst performing currency in Asia?” Sharma said.

“We are pained at the plight of the rupee; the market is in turmoil; the credit offtake is at its lowest; the current account deficit is rising. All these are the outcome of gross mismanagement and disastrous decisions like the demonetisation.”

Sharma recalled how exports had been booming under UPA rule. “Exports were growing at 18 per cent when we left office. By that yardstick, the exports should have stood at $500 billion today,” he said.

“It was $320 billion in May 2014 when we left and it is barely $300 billion today. The loss of $200 billion, which is huge, is seriously affecting job growth.”

Source: The Telegraph

Sakshi Maharaj Dares Rahul Gandhi To Challenge Him In 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

UTTAR PRADESH: BJP Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj has dared Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against him, saying he will leave politics if he defeats him.

“I challenge Rahul Gandhi to contest the 2019 general elections against me (from Unnao). I will leave politics if he wins, but if he loses, he should leave (India) for Italy,” the BJP lawmaker told reporters on Sunday.

The Unnao lawmaker also attacked Mr Gandhi for undertaking Mansarovar Yatra in early September this year, allegedly without maintaining “purity”.

“We are not opposing his yatra. Why will the BJP do so? But it is written in ‘shastra’ (scriptures) that purity is needed for such yatras (pilgrimage). He should have become pure before doing the yatra. No one enters a temple without (maintaining) purity. Darshan is not justified after having non-veg food,” said Sakshi Maharaj.

“He sometimes wears ‘topi’ (skull cap) and then becomes ‘Shiv Bhakt'”, he said taking a dig at Mr Gandhi.

The BJP lawmaker said he would welcome if Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav builds a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Saifai (Etawah).

On whether Ram temple will be a poll issue in the 2019 polls, Sakshi Maharaj said “As of now the issue is ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ but in ‘yudh’ (war), the issue depends on situation.”

The BJP lawmaker also claimed the opposition’s fear of defeat from the BJP is the reason behind their efforts to forge a pre-poll alliance.

“The opposition is afraid of the BJP and that is why they are talking of grand alliance,” he added.

Source: PTI

Rahul Gandhi says Modi Govt targeted official who raised objections on Rafale deal

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday hit out at the Modi government for reportedly targeting a Defence ministry official who allegedly raised “objections” over the price of the Rafale jets.

He took to Twitter to take a swipe at Prime Minister Modi with a poem in Hindi alleging that he gave benefits to “crony capitalists” at the cost of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the Rafale deal.

Gandhi also alleged that the officer who raised questions over the deal was penalized, while those who sided with the government were rewarded. He tagged a media report that alleged that the Defence ministry official who raised objections over the price of the Rafale jets “proceeded” on a month’s leave and the 36-Rafale deal was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council thereafter.

Citing the same media report, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, in a tweet, claimed that the Modi government “sent on leave the ‘whistleblower”, who questioned the loss to the state exchequer “by paying 300% extra for 36 Rafale”.

He also alleged that a senior officer, who overruled the official who raised questions over the Rafale jets pricing, was made a member of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). “Perks of pleasing Modi govt cover corruption tracks,” he claimed.

The Rafale deal controversy took a new turn last week after Francois Hollande, who was French president when the Rs 58,000 crore deal was announced, was quoted as saying by French publication Mediapart that France was given “no choice” in selection of the Indian partner for Dassault and the Indian government proposed the name of Reliance Defence as offset partner for the French aerospace giant.

Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.

Congress leader Jaipal Reddy on Thursday alleged that French President Emmanuel Macron did not contradict Hollande’s claim on Rafale deal which was tantamount to the confirmation of his predecessor’s claim.

“It is for the first time that the present French president Macron while answering a specific question avoided the question. He said I was not incharge at that time. In other words, he did not contradict the version of former French president Hollande,” he claimed.

Even as the Congress steps up its attack on the government, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar told a Marathi news channel that people do not doubt PM Modi’s intentions and that the opposition’s demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jet made no sense.

BJP chief Amit Shah lauded Pawar’s statement and tweeted, “I thank Sharad Pawar, a former Defence minister and veteran MP, for placing national interests above party politics and speaking the truth. Dear Rahul Gandhi, you would be wiser by believing your own ally and a leader of Pawar Saheb’s stature.” He tagged the Congress president in his tweet.

Home minister Rajnath Singh asked Congress leaders to advise their chief against using “derogatory” language to target the PM, an apparent reference to Gandhi’s “chor” (thief) jibe at PM Modi in his tweet. “It is not Rafale. It is Ra-fail (Rahul-fail). He will be a failure. Rahul Gandhi is trying to mislead the people on the issue,” Singh said.

Source: Financial Chronicle

 

Whose Pockets Are Being Filled? Rahul Gandhi Questions PM Modi On Soaring Fuel Prices

Rewa (Madhya Pradesh): Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the soaring fuel prices and asked “whose pockets are being filled” because of this.

He also attacked the Modi government, once again, over the Rafale fighter plane deal before wrapping up his two-day visit to the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.

“Crude oil prices were 140 dollar per barrel in international market during the UPA regime. These rates have come down to 70 dollars (in global market) now. But, the prices of petrol and diesel in India have been going up,” Gandhi told a gathering at Baikunthpur of Rewa district.

He went on to ask, “Whose pockets are being filled with high prices? Why is the prime minister not speaking on price rise of petrol and diesel?”

Taking a dig at the prime minister, Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi used to ask the people (during his speeches) whether they are getting petrol at Rs 50 now. Yes, the people are getting half-a-litre petrol in Rs 50 now.”

The Congress leader said the Modi government has ignored the interests of farmers but helped a small group of industrialists by waiving loans amounting to nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Turning to the Rafale figher issue, he said during the UPA rule, the contract related to the deal was given to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) so that it could help create jobs.

“But the Modi government gave this deal to industrialist Anil Ambani and hiked the planes procurement price,” Gandhi alleged.

“When we asked about the price, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lied that there was a secret clause. But, French President said that there is no such secret pact,” he charged.

He alleged that French President has said that their government had no option because the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani”s name. Gandhi claimed that Ambani had not manufactured even a single aircraft but was awarded a contract of Rs 30,000-crore after “snatching” the work from HAL.

Ambani has already rejected Rahul Gandhi’s allegations and emphasised that the government had no role in the Rafale- manufacturer French company Dassault picking up his company as a local partner.

He had written to Gandhi on December 12, 2017, refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Ambani had written that Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.

Congress president also alleged that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had helped industrialist Vijay Mallya in escaping from the country after defaulting on loans to the tune of thousands of crores but Modi doesn’t utter a word.

Gandhi also attacked the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, saying the roads in the state are full of potholes but Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claims that they are better than those in the United States.

“As Shivraj comes on the stage (at a public meeting), even a five-year-old child says that a ‘Ghoshana Machine’ (a machine of announcements) has come. No work on ground only announcements, he said.

He said that the teachers in Madhya Pradesh in schools are hired on contract, which gives no security to their future.

Alleging rampant corruption in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress president said Chouhan must answer about the Vyapam scam and the e-tendering scam.

He also promised to implement the Land Acquisition Act with rates four times more than the market costs.

“Madhya Pradesh only pays twice the land prices,” Gandhi said.

Earlier in the day, a member of erstwhile royal family of Rewa Pushparaj Singh joined the Congress in the presence of Gandhi and other leaders.

He was a minister during the Congress regime in the state but had joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) in 2008. Singh’s son Divyaraj Singh is BJP MLA from Sirmour assembly seat.

Gandhi reached Chitrakoot (Satna district) from Allahabad by a helicopter on Thursday and visited the Kamta Nath temple where he performed ‘puja’.

The temple is located in the forested hills of Kamadgiri where, according to mythology, Lord Rama stayed during his exile.

Later on Thursday, he addressed two public meetings respectively at Chitrakoot and Satna besides holding a roadshow in Rewa city in the night.

On Friday, Gandhi addressed public meetings in four assembly constituencies of states Vindhya region including at Baikunthpur (Sirmour), Shahpur (Simaria), Lalgaon (Mangawan) and Chunari (Teothar).

After addressing the rally at Chunari, the Congress president left for Allahabad in a helicopter.

The 48-year-old Amethi MP was accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath, state party campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia and Leader of Opposition in MP Assembly Ajay Singh.

Source: PTI

Rafale deal: Reliance got contract first, Maharashtra Govt gave land 3 months later

When the storm broke out after the former French president Hollande’s interview, Dassault Aviation which manufactures the Rafale aircraft stated that it selected Reliance Defence not under the pressure from the Indian government but because this company was registered under the Corporate Affairs Ministry of India and it had land in Nagpur which was closer to the runway.

But according to the information which has been revealed, the day when PM Modi announced the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft from France, that is on April 10, 2015, the Reliance Defence did not have any land at that time.

After the announcement of the Rafale deal on April 10, 2015, Reliance Defence gave a presentation to the Maharashtra government on June 2015 and demanded 289 acres of land in Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport SEZ area in Nagpur.

On August 28, 2015, the formal land allotment ceremony took place, during which Anil Ambani had announced that he would invest ₹6,500 crores in a large Greenfield Aerospace Equipment Manufacturing Centre near Nagpur. It was told that at this center, which would house Anil Ambani’s new fledgling company Reliance Defence Fixed Wing Aircraft, aero-structures for commercial transport aircraft and helicopters, which can be used in both defence and commercial sectors, will be built.

It was also informed that at the same center, the components required for providing the after-sales service of the aircraft would also be manufactured.Now, Dassault Aviation’s argument that one of the reasons behind choosing Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner was the availability of land falls through.It is significant to recall the timeline of the developments in this deal:

    • On April 10, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Paris that India will buy 36 Rafael fighter aircraft from France
    • Reliance Defence had come into existence only 12 days before this announcement
    • On April 13, 2015, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar declares on Doordarshan that this deal has been done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he has supported it
    • In June 2015, Reliance Defence gives a presentation to the Maharashtra government and asks for the land
    • On August 28, 2015, after just 10 weeks, Maharashtra Government allots 289 acres of land to Reliance
    • On September 23, 2016, the agreement to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft between India and France is signed
    • On October 3, 2016, the joint venture between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation,the company that manufactures Rafale is announced

Once Anil Ambani’s firm got the land, Éric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, arrived in India and a programme was held in Nagpur during which Trappier laid the foundation stone of this joint factory. Apart from Trappier and Anil Ambani, the then French Defence Minister Florence Parly, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and the then French Ambassador to India Alexandre Zeigler attended this function.

On this occasion, Anil Ambani said that it (the deal and establishing the factory) would not have been possible without the constant support and help of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The most interesting thing about this entire event is that when India entered into a deal for buying 36 Rafale fighters from France in fly-away state, then why was the joint venture between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence created?

When the aircraft was not to be manufactured in India then why was the slogan ‘Make in India’ so harped about in this deal?

In fact, the entire matter seems to be going beyond these 36 Rafale aircraft.

After the sensational statement by Francois Hollande and the furor it created, explanations and justifications have been coming in from all corners and the recent clarification was given by the law minister on Saturday, September 22, that “36 aircraft are coming from France, rest will be manufactured here in India”.

What can be understood from this statement? That the deal is not for 36 aircraft but for more than that? Or has it been decided that in the future too, the purchase of new aircraft will be through this new joint venture between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation?

Source: National Herald

HAL Lost Rafale Deal as it Quoted ‘257 Man-hours’ For Job Dassault Said Could be Done in 100: Minister

New Delhi: Wading into the Rafale jets controversy, Union Minister Babul Supriyo Thursday indicated that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) lost on the deal because it quoted 2.57 times more man-hours to build fighter jets.

While HAL was to produce 108 fighter jets locally in a joint venture with French firm Dassault Aviation in the deal for 126 Rafale jets that the previous UPA regime had negotiated. The state-owned firm, however, was left out in the deal as the present government signed to buy 36 fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition from France.

Minister of State for Heavy Industries Supriyo, speaking at a conference on public sector enterprises organised by CII here, said HAL quoted “257 man-hours” for a job Dassault said could be done in “100 man-hours”.

For the production of Rafale fighter jets, “when Dassault said they needed 100 man hours, HAL said they needed 257, so that is indeed a big factor,” he said.

Stating that there may be political controversies over the issue, the minister said his limited point was about economics.

“I am just saying that we need to definitely look into why something that can be made in 100 hours would require 257 hours. Are we faltering somewhere. Can we bring it down? Can we negotiate on that? These are small areas that need to be looked into,” he said.

“So that is the question that all of us need to answer and that is where the government is trying their very best to support and push those public sector enterprises which need that support by the infusion of funds or the right injection at the right time – be it funds or any R&D.”

Later speaking to PTI, the minister clarified that his remarks were directed at the PSUs to assess how to match with their private peers in a time of globalisation.

HAL is a Bengaluru-based defence public sector unit and does not come under his department.

Source: PTI

Go on Offensive on Rafale Deal: Gadkari to BJP Functionaries

Mumbai: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday told BJP functionaries to go on the offensive to counter the Opposition’s allegations on the Rafale fighter jet deal instead of being defensive.

In an unrelenting tirade against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA over the deal with French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation to buy 36 jets, the Congress has claimed the cost per aircraft is triple compared to the one fixed by the previous UPA government.

It also claims that the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was kept out of the offset deal with the French firm to benefit Anil Ambani’s firm.

Speaking at a state-level BJP meeting here, Gadkari said, “Reliance Defence will be supplying some parts to Dassault. What (aircraft) will be assembled in Nagpur and who should be Dassault’s vendor is their decision”.

“Dassault has many international parts suppliers. It is Dassault’s decision whom to appoint as their vendor,” he said.

The road transport and highways minister alleged that the Opposition was trying to create confusion about the deal.

“The Indian government had nothing to do with it (Dassault’s choice of Indian partner). (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi also has nothing to do with the deal. The Opposition is unnecessarily creating confusion about this deal. We are a transparent government. We should be on the offensive and not be defensive on it,” Gadkari told party functionaries.

“India has been buying fighter aircrafts since 2002. I feel sad about the condition of the aircrafts we have right now. So many fighter planes have crashed till date. The condition of helicopters is such that (it feels as if) you are sitting in a truck. Modi travels in such helicopters,” he added.

He claimed the cost negotiated by the NDA for Rafale jets was 40 per cent cheaper than what the UPA had agreed upon.

At a media interaction here on Tuesday, Union minister Prakash Javadekar had claimed that the cost of the jets was 20 per cent lower compared to the price negotiated by the UPA dispensation.

Source: News18.com

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Formed Only When Rafale Deal Was Announced: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress party on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal and its connection with Anil Ambani saying that the “businessman friend’s” Reliance Defence was incorporated when the aircraft deal was announced. Speaking at a press conference, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the deal was made to favour Ambani.

“On March 28, 2015, Reliance Defence Limited was incorporated. On March 25, 2015, Eric Trappier stated that contract with HAL was finalised. On March 11, 2015, HAL and Dassault stated parts of Rafale manufactured by HAL and Dassault will be guaranteed by respective companies,” Sibal said.

The Congress leader further alleged that only former French president Francois Hollande and PM Narendra Modi were aware of the Rafale deal. “On April 8, 2015, Foreign Secretary of India stated Rafale deal wasn’t on the table during PM’s visit to France on April 10, 2015. But PM announced about the 36 Rafale aircrafts deal, while none of them were aware,” he said.

“On April 24, Reliance Aerostructure Limited was formed days after Rafale deal was announced. Therefore, both Modi and Reliance knew what the other was up to. Only HAL didn’t know. Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley or Nirmala Sitharaman none of them were aware of the new deal announced by PM. Only two people knew — then French President Hollande and PM Modi,” the allegation continued.

“Why did they take decision on Rafale deal on April 10? We are only asking for the price, not the technology,” he said.

Attacking the BJP on their “international conspiracy” remark, Sibal said, “We wanted Rafale deal to go through, which would generate thousands of jobs. I want to ask Nirmala Sitharaman where did she come across the international conspiracy.” BJP chief Amit Shah had earlier kicked up a storm saying if the Opposition was forming an ‘International Mahagatbandhan’ with Pakistan since both of them chant “Modi hatao”.

Shah’s tweet read, “Rahul Gandhi says ‘Modi Hatao’, Pakistan says ‘Modi Hatao’. Now Pakistan also supports Rahul Gandhi’s baseless allegations against PM Modi. Is Congress forming an International Mahagathbandhan against PM Modi?”

The Rafale deal row began soon after Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government had suggested the name of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the Offset partner for Dassault in the aircraft deal.

Source/Credits: IBTimes

GOI told us take Reliance or No Deal: Former top Francois Hollande defence aide stands by ex-President’s statements on Rafale

A former top defence aide and one of the military advisers to the ex-President of France, Francois Hollande in an exclusive interview with IndiaScoops.com, has concurred and stood by the statements made by the former French Premier on the Rafale deal.

“I was aware and in the know of almost everything concerning the deal and what the ex-President said is absolutely correct and true,” he told IndiaScoops.com.

He also told IndiaScoops.com that there is great pressure from the Government of India (GOI) on the French establishment, the French government and Dassault Aviation to issue press statements favoring the decisions taken at that point in time.

The French government, the former French Premier  Francois Hollande and the entire Defence setup of France had absolutely no role to play in the selection of the Indian partner. It was a decision foisted upon us by the GOI, he told IndiaScoops.com.

According to one of Hollande’s former Defence adviser who spoke to  IndiaScoops.com, even Dassault Aviation was initially keen on going ahead with the Indian PSU HAL and was looking forward to partnering with HAL for tech-transfer and joint-manufacturing of the state-of-the-art fighter jet.

He supported the IndiaScoops.com story that the decision was  mysteriously changed at the last minute by Dassault CEO Eric Trappier (Read Here) and two other officials, in spite of written reservations by the HODs of the entire Dassault tech team, who had an animated discussion on email among themselves, about the pros and cons of working with a new inexperienced company like Reliance Defence Ltd, which lacked the expertise and experience to handle state-of-the-art classified military and aviation tech.

“Ask Dassault to produce the emails and internal assessment of their own teams and the entire matter will become crystal clear,” the former Defence expert told IndiaScoops.com on phone from Paris on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: Rafale Deal: Technical HODs at Dassault claim Reliance was never the first choice, decision to drop HAL was taken by CEO Eric Trappier at the last minute

Last week former French president Francois Hollande, who negotiated the Rafale deal with PM Narendra Modi, declared that it was the Indian government (GOI) who proposed Reliance — “we had no choice”, he said.

But a day later, he said that it was for Dassault to comment on whether it had been pressured to choose Anil Ambani’s firm as an offset partner — as part of the contract, Dassault has to invest 50 per cent of the overall value of the deal or Rs. 30,000 crore in partnering with defence manufacturers in India.

According to a report in The Wire, the former French President is understood to have told a publication: The new deal also included the offset agreement between Dassault and the Reliance Group, now the subject of controversy. How and by whom was the latter selected? “We didn’t have any say in this matter,” Hollande told Mediapart.

“It is the Indian government which had proposed this service group, and Dassault who negotiated with Anil Ambani. We didn’t have the choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us. That’s why, also, this group had no reason to give me any grace [favour] of any sort.

PM Modi is Anti-Dalit, He Has an Anti-Dalit Mindset and Wants To Crush Them: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an “anti-Dalit” mindset and asserted that a government for the welfare of the weaker sections will be formed in 2019 following the BJP’s defeat, reports NDTV.

Dalits are being openly beaten and crushed in states where the BJP is in power, Mr Gandhi said in a scathing attack against the Prime Minister at a protest organised by Dalit organisations over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

“Everything starts from intent. If he (Modi) would have had place for Dalits in his heart, then policies would have been framed differently. In Gujarat, he brought out a book of his speeches in which he wrote that Dalits get spiritual satisfaction out of cleaning. These lines throw light on his thinking and ideology,” Mr Gandhi said at the protest held in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, reports NDTV.

He alleged that the Prime Minister, the BJP and the RSS don’t want Dalits to have a share in education and in progress of the nation.

Attacking the Prime Minister, Mr Gandhi said, “His thinking is anti-Dalit. All Dalits and people from the weaker sections know that the prime minister has no place for Dalits in his heart and mind and wants to crush Dalits. That is why we are standing against him.”

He added that the BJP will be defeated in 2019 and a government for Dalits, weaker sections, tribals, farmers formed, reports NDTV.

The atrocities act was brought by the Congress and the party will protect it together with the people, Mr Gandhi added.

“The atrocities act was given to India by the Congress party and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, it was attacked and the judge who attacked it was promoted and rewarded by the Modi government,” he said, referring to the appointment of AK Goel as head of the National Green Tribunal.

“Wherever there is a BJP government, in those states Dalits are openly beaten and crushed. We don’t want an India like this. We want an India in which there should be place for everybody, whether Dalits, poor, tribals or minorities…everybody should progress. We will fight for such an India,” he added.

Declaring that there will be no stepping back, he said Dalits are crushed whenever they try to progress and cited the case of Rohith Vemula, the PhD scholar at Hyderabad university who committed suicide in the campus on January 17, 2016.

Several Dalit groups have voiced their protest against the Supreme Court ruling of March 20, saying the law against atrocities faced by the weakest sections of the society was “diluted” by putting additional safeguards against arrest of the accused.

A bill to overturn the Supreme Court order was unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, reports NDTV.

Some Dalit groups are still protesting, demanding further protection for the act by putting it in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, release of leaders who were arrested under criminal charges after the Bharat Bandh held in April and the arrest of all those involved in atrocities against Dalits.

Source: NDTV