Taking a jibe at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s ‘increasing love for Dalits’, Dalit leader Ramdas Athawale said the chronic bachelor and heir to the Congress Party should now get married to a Dalit girl.
Speaking at a function in Akola in Maharashtra, Athawale said Gandhiji wanted to erase the scourge of caste from India and had called on his followers to conduct inter-caste marriages.
“Day by day, he (Rahul Gandhi) is getting matured. He’s going to Dalits’ houses, has food with them. Only one more step remains to fulfill Gandhiji’s dream – to do an intercaste marriage,” Athawale said at the function today.
“There are many girls (in the SC community) who are ready to marry (Rahul). Now, it’s up to Rahul Gandhi to come forward,” he added.
He went on to clarify that he too was a follower of Gandhiji’s advice in this matter and had married a Brahmin girl.
Athawale is known for his witty, and often politically incorrect remarks at big rallies.
The latest remark too was apparently made to poke fun at ‘upper caste’ leaders who profess to have risen above caste, but always get married to someone from their own community.
Recently, Athawale urged Dalit youth in his home state of Maharasthra to join the Indian Army instead of remaining unemployed.
“Instead of consuming country liquor while being unemployed, the Dalit youths should join Army where they can get rum,” Athawale said.
Athawale is arguably the most prominent leader from the Dalit community in Maharasthra, the state where Dalits have made the most progress in India.
He was a full-time member of Dalit Panther of India organisation which was founded by Namdeo Dhasal and JV Pawar and had advocated Dalits keeping firearms to resist oppression.
He founded the Republican Party of India, based on Bhimrao Ambedkar’s ideals. At present, his party is a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance and Athawale is a junior minister looking after Social Justice and Empowerment at the center.