GUWAHATI: Prominent Dalit and youth leader, and MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party will curb all the basic rights under democracy if it is voted back to power. Mevani was in Guwahati to take part in a National Youth Conclave organised by the Axom Nagarik Manch.

The theme of the conclave was ‘The State of the Nation and the Way Forward’.

“This anti-constitutional force… if they come back to power in 2019, you can note it down, Axom Nagarik Manch will not even plan to conduct such conclaves. Nothing less than that will happen.

“I have witnessed this fascist attitude in Gujarat for 15 years… After the 2019 polls, the people who fight for the rights of Dalits, minorities and for the other voiceless, they will either be thrashed or put behind bars with fake cases, or will be killed like Gauri Lankesh,” said Mevani, addressing the jampacked auditorium at the ITA Cultural Centre, Machkhowa in Guwahati.

He added that the “fascist RSS-BJP” people can go to any extent. “The Gauri Lankesh murder chargesheet has revealed that one branch of the Sangh Parivar had prepared a list of 43 intellectuals to eliminate. This is a danger. We will be shot at on our doorsteps,” he said.

On the chowkidar or sentry gimmick, Mevani said that the sanitation workers and chowkidars of the country have been suffering and still lacked basic amenities. “I’m an independent MLA and an agitator but not a chowkidar. More than 90 percent safai workers don’t get the minimum wage - even inside the assembly premises in Gujarat.”

Mevani alleged that the government’s distraction from crucial issues was benefiting only the BJP, not the electorate. “If Modi wants to be PM again, let him. But it shouldn’t be on Hindu-Muslim division… it should be on health, education and employment. Where are the jobs? We must focus on the major issues in the coming days,” he said.

On March 23, on the occasion of Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day, a campaign was launched called ‘Desh Mera, Vote Mera, Mudda Mera’ (My Country, My Vote, My Issues).

“This is the way forward. If this campaign can be taken to the nooks and corners of the country, I’m very sure that Modi will never be able to remain in politics. Forget about becoming PM. His political career will come to an end. Let me clarify: when you people reject him in New Delhi, we don’t want him back in Gujarat,” said Mevani.

Mevani contrasted the government’s spending Rs 3000 crore on a humongous statue of Sardar Patel, with the lack of basic health facilities even in a relatively rich state like Gujarat.

“There are no MRI devices in the hospitals. One has to travel at least 250 kilometres to Ahmadabad to get an MRI. There the doctor would ask the patient to come after three months because of pending cases. By that time, the patient would have died. If Rs 1000 crore were spent, every district would have MRI and CT scan machines but that is not happening. But the status are being built,” Mevani said.

Several other prominent youth politicians and activists also spoke at the conclave.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president N.Sai Balaji said that unemployment was the major issue in the country. He criticised the BJP government for making the employment situation worse, while clamping down with sedition laws on whoever dared question the government.

Parvin Sultana, a columnist and assistant professor at the BB Barua College in Gauripur, said that the politics of communal division was the most dangerous element of BJP rule.

Krishak Mutki Sangram Samiti advisor Akhil Gogoi said that after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, in a bid to provide an alternative to the BJP and Congress, he would be joining active politics. The RTI activist said it was high time that people entered active politics to bring about the desired change.

“We have witnessed enough of the politics done by the BJP and Congress. We are tired of asking people what to do and what not to during the elections. There is no place for either BJP or Congress. Both Congress and BJP follow imperialism. This is time for an alternative government,” said Gogoi, explaining his decision. He, however, refrained from giving further details of his intentions.