Lucknow, Dec 6: In a major setback to the BJP, party's MP from Bahraich (UP) Savitribai Phule resigned from the party on Thursday. She accused the BJP of dividing society. Phule has long been critical of the party's leadership. The Dalit leader said her objective was to get the Constitution implemented in letter and spirit.
"I have resigned from the party. But I will continue as a Lok Sabha member till the end of my tenure," she said in Lucknow.
She said she will launch an agitation to champion the cause of Dalits from December 23, adding that the country needs a Constitution not a temple.
Phule has been attacking the BJP and its governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh for their alleged indifference to the concerns of Scheduled Castes.
She has also accused the BJP of dividing society and often the party over its Hindutva plank.
Earlier on Tuesday, she had said Lord Hanuman was “a Dalit and a slave of ‘manuwadi’ people.”
Only recently, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said at a poll rally in Malakheda of Alwar district, Rajasthan, that ''Bajrang Bali was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit, who worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west.”.
Phule alleged that Dalits and Backward Class people were being called ‘bandar’ (monkey) and ‘rakshas’ (demon). “Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of ‘manuwadi’ people. He was a Dalit and a human. He did all for Lord Ram then why was he given a tail and his face was blackened. Why was he made a monkey?,” she said.
“When he did all for Lord Ram with devotion, he [Lord Hanuman] should have been made a human and not a ‘bandar’ [monkey]. At that time also he had to face humilation due to being a Dalit. Why can’t we Dalits be considered humans?” she said.
After Adityanath's statement, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar asked members of his community to take over all temples belonging to Lord Hanuman. “Dalits should take over all Hanuman temples in the country and appoint Dalits as priests there,” he said.
When asked about the Ram temple issue, which is pending in the Supreme Court, Phule said the BJP was raking up the matter as it had no other issues.
“The country does not need a temple. Will it end unemployment and other problems of Dalits and backwards? The temple will benefit Brahmins, who are only 3%. The money offered in temples are used by them for their gains and make our community [Dali]) their slave,” she said.
“We want rights given to us in the Constitution. “Hamko adhikar chahiya warna kursi khali karo [Give us our rights or leave the government],“ she said.
Phule had raised questions on BJP leaders dining at houses of Dalits and termed the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “a mahapurush” (great personality).News24 Bureau/PTI