Need mass movement at district-level to 'save Constitution, reservation': Congress' Udit Raj

New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) Congress leader and SC/ST rights activist Udit Raj on Sunday alleged that the Constitution was under threat and a mass movement was needed to protect it, else the reservation for underprivileged will 'remain just on paper'.

Addressing a national rally at Ramlila Maidan here, he also raised the issues of privatisation, unemployment and EVM tampering, and reservation in private sector and judiciary.

'Our Constitution is under threat, democracy is under threat and if we do not get our act together, this reservation will also just remain on paper... This movement we have heralded today should be taken to all the states and districts if we want to save our Constitution, save reservation,' he said.

Raj, the national chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations (AICSO) and a former MP from North West Delhi, had quit BJP earlier this year after being denied a ticket to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Dalit leader also attacked the Modi government, saying, 'Two crore jobs were promised to be created every year, but instead crores of jobs have been taken away'.

The rally was organised by AICSO with support from various other Dalit outfits, and attended by people in large numbers from various parts of the country.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a Facebook post in Hindi, also extended his support to the rally.

Raj said that for Constitution coming 'under threat', it is not just the government who is responsible, but people too.

'People can gather if a Dalit-related issue is an emotive or emotional one, say vandalism of Babsaheb Ambedkar's statue or someone making a derogatory remark about Dalit leaders, but when it comes Dalit rights or reservation issues, people hardly gather,' he lamented.

Raj said, people of the country are 'fatalist' and 'talkative' and expect a 'saviour' to come rescue them from their woes.

'If a country has people like this, its Constitution will be under threat. Look at Hong Kong, lakhs of people coming out in huge numbers to protest against the government,' he said.

The Dalit leader also criticised the community for being 'caste conscious' within their own community, instead of galvanising themselves for a common cause.

'You yourselves talk of jatavs, valmikis, chamars. Are you united within your own community,' he asked.

If people come together, no one can take away the reservation rights from deserving people, no government can bring in privatisation in the public sector, he added.

On electronic voting machines (EVMs), he said most developed countries have given up on it and it was time India also 'discarded it'.

Raj also lamented that 'big Dalit leaders' and Dalit organisations were not 'adding their energy' together for a common cause.

Delhi Minister for Social Welfare Rajendra Pal Gautam who also joined the rally said people need to take to streets if they want to get their due rights.

'We have to move beyond being social media activists and actually work for it,' he said. PTI KND AAR