Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP today turned up the heat on the Modi government, saying its support to the BJP is issue-based as it sought a law to restore the stringent measures of an Act on atrocities against Dalits and removal of NGT Chairman A K Goel by August 9.
Party MP and Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan said patience of many within the Lok Janshakti Party is running out as circumstances raising concerns of the Dalits and tribals have emerged of late. Protecting interests of these communities was at the root of the LJP’s tie up with the BJP in 2014, he told a press conference in New Delhi.
His party has been demanding for over four months now an ordinance to restore the original provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act but the government has not done so. He, however, stayed away from issuing any direct threat to the BJP and said the LJP has faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his government had done a lot for Dalits.
“We will cross the bridge when it comes,” he said when asked if his party would consider walking out of the BJP-led NDA if its demands are not met by the August 9 deadline.
Various Dalit and tribal groups have called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ on August 10 to press their demands, including restoration of the Act. They have said a Supreme Court order in March weakened the law.
Chirag Paswan said incidents of atrocities against the community have risen following the verdict and FIRs were not being registered by police. Goel was one of the two top court judges who delivered the verdict and he was appointed the National Green Tribunal chairperson earlier this month immediately after his retirement from the Supreme Court.
The LJP has criticised his appointment with Chirag Paswan writing to Modi seeking his removal, saying it has sent a wrong message. Dalits believe that he has been rewarded for his judgement, he said. His father has also written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. Chirag Paswan expressed the hope that the prime minister will take appropriate decisions once he returns from his foreign visit later in the evening. He said the opposition has been working to give an impression that the government was being “anti-Dalit” and the Modi dispensation should take strong measures to dispel it.
Blowing hot and cold, he said the LJP strongly remains a part of the government as it makes it easier for his party to carry out its Dalit agenda.