Under pressure from Mayawati, Congress governments in MP, Rajasthan to withdraw cases against Dalits

BSP chief has threatened to withdraw support from Congress governments if cases against Dalits are not withdrawn. 

Under pressure from Mayawati, Congress governments in MP, Rajasthan to withdraw cases against Dalits

Bhopal/Jaipur: Heeding to BSP chief Mayawati's ultimatum, the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on Tuesday said they will withdraw cases filed against Dalits during the 'Bharat Bandh' last year that witnessed large-scale violence.

The decisions were announced by the two governments a day after Mayawati threatened to take back the BSP's support to them if they did not withdraw the cases filed against the Dalits during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by Dalit groups.

The Madhya Pradesh government will withdraw all the "political cases" filed by the previous BJP government against workers of political parties and Dalit activists, Law Minister P.C. Sharma said.

"We (Congress) have been fighting (against the BJP government). Irrespective of any party, those who have been fighting the BJP government which had sent people to jail... those political cases will be withdrawn," he said. 

Last week, Sharma had indicated that the government was drafting a proposal to withdraw "politically motivated" cases against political and trade union leaders filed during the BJP's rule during the last 15 years. 

In Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his government will revoke cases registered against Dalits during the Bharat Bandh of April 2 last year after reviewing them.

Speaking to the media at the Congress office, Gehlot said: "Our government will review all such cases to ensure that innocents are released."

He said that Mayawati's demand was valid. The previous government had framed cases against many people "and hence our government will review all such cases".

"In fact, I am thankful to Mayawati for giving support to our party. She herself took the initiative to extend support to the Congress and hence I am thankful to her."

The BSP has two members in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly in which the Congress has 114 MLAs and is two short of the majority mark.

The Samajwadi Party has one MLA and has also extended support to the government. There are four independents. 

In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 99 members and its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal has one MLA. There are six BSP MLAs and 13 independents. 

The Congress had supported the protest in April 2018 against the changes to the SC/ST Act brought in by the Supreme Court which was later nullified by a legislation passed in Parliament.