Adding a new leaf to the politics of empty symbolism and rhetoric, the BJP’s national president Rajnath Singh has promised to build a Buddha statue, bigger than the one in Bamiyan, if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh. He stated, “If BJP forms government in Uttar Pradesh, then we will construct a huge Buddha statue in UP, even bigger than Afghanistan’s giant Bamiyan Buddhas which were destroyed by terrorists”, at a religious gathering in Mulagandhakuti Vihara in Varanasi. Singh made this announcement while flagging off the Dhamma Chetana Yatra in Varanasi in Sarnath organised by All India Bhikkhu Sangha to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.
No amount of statue-building can reverse its record of BJP senior leaders making anti-dalit remarks, and offering ‘harmony’ to people even as the police beat protesting Dalits students in HCU. As opposed to the politics of political rhetorics, the Congress government in Karnataka has allocated, a total amount of Rs. 5464 Crore During 2016-17 to the Social Welfare Department.
The government has created educational opportunities for the dalit youth in the state. The state has provided Rs. 60 crore to about 3 lakh dalit students in the hostels/residential schools and aided hostels for the year 2016-17. In order to encourage dalit students who obtain ranks in universities, the state has decided to award Rs.50,000/- each for those who secure 1st to 5th rank, in the post-graduation examinations. SC/ST students who successfully complete Inter and Final examinations of CA / ICWA / Company Secretary courses are to be awarded an incentive of Rs.50,000/- and 1 lakh respectively. The students who secure first class in first attempt in the 3 year Polytechnic Diploma courses under Technical Education Department will be awarded with an incentive of Rs.20,000/.
We can only say, that the BJP needs to realize from its past performances in the Assembly polls, that mere symbolism wouldn’t win them an election. If at all they have to promise, then it has to be a better status to the Dalits, not statues!