Azad, who was hosting the rally on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Kanshi Ram, the founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, was later arrested in Deoband for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by using more than the stipulated number of motorbikes. He fell ill soon after being detained, and appealed to his supporters to reach the rally in huge numbers.
The aim of the rally, which started on Sunday from Saharanpur and culminated in New Delhi on Friday, was to throw a challenge at the Narendra Modi government, create awareness about its anti-Dalit policies and to protest against the burning of copies of constitution by a fringe group in Jantar Mantar last year.
Vivek Prakash, who joined the rally from Varanasi, carried a copy of the Constitution along. “Every Indian should have been outraged when the copies of the constitution were burnt. This document gives us rights, it is our duty to protect it,” he told News 18.
While waiting for Azad to join the rally at Jantar Mantar, the Bahujan poet and convenor, Rahul Nagpali, reminded the participants of the August incident. “This is the same street where some people had burnt the copies of constitution. But we have the constitution with us, and we will make sure that it reaches every household,” He said, adding: “We also demand that Jantar Mantar be renamed as Samvidhan Marg.”
As soon as Azad arrived, the crowd greeted him with the slogan, “Dekho dekho kaun Aya, Modi tera baap Aya”. He looked unwell and was joined by Sharad Yadav.
“Oppressed classes are going through a tough time. Ambedkar gave us the constitution and what we have is mob lynching. Chandrasekhar stood against the atrocities in Saharanpur. If Modi and (Amit) Shah return in 2019 elections, the constitution will be finished. Your rights will be curtailed,” Yadav warned the crowd as he raised the slogan, ‘Samvidhaan bachana hai,’.
Commencing the rally, Azad said he will contest from the same seat that PM Modi will contest from, as other leaders of the Dalit outfit urged supporters to defeat the Modi government in the Lok Sabha polls.
Revisited a speech made by Kanshiram, one of the supporters said, “Jo bahujan ki baat karega woh dilli se raj karega. Bhim army will fulfil the unfulfilled dream of Kanshiram. There is no scope of friendship between the exploited and exploiter. There cannot be an understanding between Brahman and Chamaar the way there cannot be between horse and grass.”
Later, Azad inaugurated the copies of constitution, saying, “We want the Constitution to go to every house. This government couldn’t face the protesters and tried every trick to stop us. But we are strong in our resolve and will stop them from forming the next government.”
“When I announced my desire to contest the elections, Modi responded to it by washing the feet of our people,” he said, adding: “I am the voice of Bahujan. If I wanted to be a politician I would have contested from the reserved seat. But I want to be a challenge to him, and not play politics. I am grateful to people who came here for the birth anniversary of our rehbar (patron) who showed us how to form a gathbandhan.”