Manjhi, Tejaswi, at the Gareeb Sammelan, Accuse NDA of being Anti-Dalit, Anti-poor

Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi speaking at his 'Gareeb Sammelan' in Patna on Sunday.

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Patna: Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi, at his 'Gareeb Sammelan' at Patna's Gandhi Maidan on Sunday, spent less time on the plight of the poor and dedicated the majority of his speech to bashing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling both of them 'anti-poor, anti-Dalits, and anti-backwards who were out to destroy them.

Manjhi, known for his caste-based rhetoric and politics, opened the salvo against Kumar by slamming him on his crusade against use of alcohol in Bihar.

"The entire prohibition was designed to punish the poor because it's the poor who have limited or no means to defend themselves. Prisons in Bihar are filled with backwards and Dalits who have been charged with violating prohibition laws while rich people continue to be able to purchase and consume liquor in the state. It has become a means to harass the Dalit community," Manjhi roared.

"If the Grand Alliance came into power, it would scrap prohibition in Bihar," Manjhi, much to the surprise of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav who was also present on the occasion, said.

Grand Alliance leaders at Manjhi's 'Gareeb Sammelan' at Gandhi Maidan.

It may be recalled that on April 4 during an event to release the 'report card' of the Nitish government, Tejaswi Yadav had said that while he was in favor of prohibition, if given the opportunity to run the government again, he would implement it differently so poor were not a discriminated lot and the law was equally strict for rich and upper caste people as well.

Manjhi further said that he personally knew a number of Janata Dal – U leaders who were in the habit of consuming alcoholic drinks.

"Liquor is flowing in Bihar but the police arrests only poor people. More than 80% of those arrested under prohibition law are Dalits," the former Chief Minister said.

Turning his attention towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the HAM leader said that the NDA government was trying very hard to get rid of SC/ST as was evident by the recent Supreme Court decision.

"Narendra Modi is a puppet of the Sangh Parivar and he is doing things that the Sangh Parivar tells him to do. He is hatching conspiracies against the Dalits but we, along with the people of Bihar, will not allow him to do so.

RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav at Manjhi's Gareeb Sammelan at Patna's Gandhi Maidan on Sunday.

RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav, who was the only one to represent his party despite Manjhi's attempt to build up the 'Gareeb Sammelan' with billboards portraying the images of Rabri Devi and Tej Pratap Yadav, besides the image of former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, went straight to bashing the NDA saying the BJP had zero respect for backwards and Dalits of the nation and was only interested in doing vote bank politics by inciting Hindu hardliners against Muslims.

"They want to wipe off backwards and Dalits to maintain their edge in the Indian politics. They are already attempting to scrap reservation laws and if not checked, the poor will have no voice left in the governance," Yadav said.

Understandably, his father and party President Lalu Prasad Yadav was not able to attend the function on account of him being incarcerated in connection with his multiple convictions in the fodder scam.

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