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Posted at: Dec 7, 2018, 2:06 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2018, 9:44 AM (IST)

Dalit MP Savitri Phule quits BJP, says country needs 'Constitution not temple'

Dalit MP Savitri Phule quits BJP, says country needs 'Constitution not temple'
MP Savitribai Phule addresses a press conference after resigning from the BJP, in Lucknow on Thursday, December 6, 2018. — PTI

Shahira Naim 
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 6

Accusing the BJP of dividing society, disgruntled party MP from Bahraich Sadhvi Savitri Bai Phule on Thursday resigned from the saffron party.

Speaking to reporters in Bahraich, Dalit leader said upholding the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is her duty for which she is resigning.

Phule announced to hold a massive rally at Ramabai Ambedkar maidan in Lucknow on December 23. She promised to make an “explosive announcement” at the rally.

"I have resigned from the party. But I will continue as a Lok Sabha member till the end of my tenure," she said.

She has also accused the BJP of dividing society and often the party over its Hindutva plank.

The Dalit MP, who has long been critical of the party's leadership and resigned from the party on the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar, said she wants to get the Constitution implemented in letter and spirit. 

"Desh ke chowikdar ki pehredari mein, sansadhono ki chori karai ja rahi hai (the country's resources are being looted under the watch of the country's gateman)," she said in a derisive reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

Slamming the BJP, she said people did not get Rs 15 lakh as promised but money was being misused in the construction of statues and temples. 

"It (BJP) is spreading hatred by raking up Hindu-Muslim, India-Pakistan issues and doing nothing to bring back those who fled with our money," the 37-year-old MP said. 

Ministers, she added, were making statements against the spirit of the Constitution "It seems the BJP wants to run the country from Manusmriti and not from the Constitution," Phule asserted, referring to the ancient Hindu code.

"I am resigning on the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar as Manuwadi mentality is being promoted and the RSS, the VHP and the BJP are hurting the sentiments of Dalits and Muslims by creating a 1992 like situation. They are playing divisive politics and vitiating the communal atmosphere...," she said.

Phule also said she wanted to draw the country's attention towards the issue of reservations in promotion.

Reacting to her resignation, BJP spokesperson Harishchandra Srivsatava said Phule was trying to hide her failures as she had failed to meet the expectations of the people of Bahraich. 

"From today onwards, I have nothing to do with the BJP. My voice was being ignored in the party as I am a Dalit. There is a great conspiracy against Dalits and their rights. Reservation for Dalits and backwards is also being slowly taken away," she said.

Known for her controversial statements, 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.

On Tuesday, Phule said Lord Hanuman was "a Dalit and a slave of 'manuwadi' people", adding her voice to the row which erupted over UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's statement that the deity was a Dalit.

Asked about the Ram temple issue, pending in the Supreme Court, Phule said the BJP is raking up the matter as it has 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 per cent. The money offered in temples are used by them for their gains and make our community (Dalit) their slave," she had said.

Phule earlier also raised questions on BJP leaders dining at Dalit homes and termed Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, "a mahapurush" (great personality), causing embarrassment to her party. — With PTI inputs

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