NEW DELHI: “This is a government that is bent on destroying the Constitution. Another Ambedkar is not going to come and save it now, and it is for me and all of us to fight for his and our vision of India. To save the Constitution and our very existence,” said Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule a day after quitting the BJP.

Speaking to The Citizen, Phule had scathing words for the BJP and the RSS, saying that by attacking and taking away the rights of “the Dalits, the Adivasis, the backwards, the Muslims” the Modi government was following Manusmriti and not the Constitution of India.

She said she hadn’t returned to her home for 17 years and would not return even now. “I will work tirelessly for the country and the rights of all the marginalised and victimised sections.”

Phule is the second member of parliament from the BJP to resign from primary membership of the party.

The first was Nana Patole from Maharashtra, who quit a year ago citing farmers’ issues. The Swabhimani Paksha led by Raju Shetti, sitting MP from Hatkanangale in Maharashtra, also quit the NDA on the same issue in September last year.

Asked whether she would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections or join another party Phule said, “I will campaign against the BJP which is systematically working against the reservation policy, a right given by the Indian Constitution and Dr B.R.Ambedkar.”

Asked specifically whether she would join forces with Mayawati and other Dalit leaders like Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan and Jignesh Mevani, she said she would work with all who are in the struggle to protect the Indian Constitution. She added that she would work to bring all such forces together as “it has to be a united fight, we should all work together, and come together.”

“I am willing to go to any extent to save the Constitution of India from this assault,” Phule declared.

“The BJP has been working with the Manuwadi mindset. The party and the government ignored the issues I raised about backward castes in the Lok Sabha and in the party. They did not react.

“Now, the time has come to unite all Dalit MPs, who cutting across party lines have raised the issues of backward castes within and outside Parliament. The BJP is trying to make them slaves of power as their silence will ultimately help Manuwadis,” Phule said.

She pointed out how the Modi government and the BJP remained silent on the Ram temple in Ayodhya the last four years and were raising it now to fool the Bahujan samaj (society, polity) for the 2019 elections.

She said that PM Modi and his party had used lies to entice voters, but were running a government committed to the interests of the corporate class.

“Modiji is not an OBC. He included his caste in the OBC category when he was chief minister of Gujarat,” Phule added.

“Our Constitution is a democratic guarantee for the safety and security of all who live here. Are Muslims not Indian citizens, do they not have the same rights? But the BJP is targeting the minorities, the Dalits and all other backwards. This cannot continue,” she said.

“There is a conspiracy to finish the Constitution”, said Phule.

“Is our governance based on the Constitution of India, or religion?” she asked.

Savitri Bai Phule said she had been able to contest and win elections only because there were reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes. “Otherwise probably I would not even have a ticket. I won, but even then they have not been listening to me. I have raised the issue of discrimination several times in Parliament, but have been completely ignored,” she told The Citizen.