PATNA: With an aim to woo the Dalits, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union Food Supply Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will hold a joint rally in Patna on Saturday on the birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. The constant collaboration by Paswan and Nitish are being seen as a major step to strengthen the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Union Minister of State Upendra Kushwaha will also be attending the event today which is being organised at the Bapu Auditorium on behalf of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Dalit Army. Speculations are rife that Nitish may make a huge announcement during this event on Saturday.
The rally comes at a time when the Central government is facing protests after the recent Supreme Court judgment 'diluted' the SC/SC Act. The BJP government has been asking its ministers to explain to the Dalit population that the government is not against them. Paswan had also recently said that no power can abolish the SC/ST Act. "The SC/ST Act will continue. It is intact and will remain so. People need not worry as no power can abolish the Act," the Union Minister had said.
While the event organised by the Dalit army and the LJP is being held at Bapu Auditorium, the Rashtriya Janata Dal will be holding the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations in Shri Krishna Memorial Hall situated right next to Bapu Auditorium in Patna. Though RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is behind bars after his conviction in the fodder scam case, he has reportedly sent his letter on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.
Meanwhile, several Dalit leaders have called for 14 April to be observed as "Protect Constitution Day" across the country. Dalit organisations are demanding that an ordinance be brought immediately by the Centre to restore the status quo of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.