‘Dalits feel Hindu Rashtra means caste system again’

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the Scheduled Caste face of NDA government, feels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to the upliftment of the Scheduled castes but “perception in the mind of Dalits about RSS needs to be corrected.”

Born to a Scheduled Caste family from Bihar Paswan, who completed 50 years of electoral politics this year after becoming an MLA in 1969 and who has been Union Minister in all governments for last 30 years since 1989, lauds NDA governments particularly of the current dispensation for Scheduled Caste welfare but also flags the discomfiture of the community with “Hindu Rashtra” pitch of BJP.

In an exclusive interview to Deccan Herald, Paswan also makes a strong case for everyone to wait for the Supreme Court decision on Ram Temple and does not approve of the VHP-BJP pitch to bring an ordinance on it.

“It is written in our party manifesto that everybody in the country should accept whatever is the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue. We stick to it. Different parties may have different views. VHP-BJP may have other views. But the government has never said that an ordinance should be brought to construct Ram Temple. Nobody from the government has said that it will bring an ordinance,” says Paswan, who had resigned from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2002 citing Godhra communal riots.

He also felt that Ram temple issue “will not be that big an issue” in 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which says electoral outcome will be decided “on the basis of our work in five years, development and employment.”

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