Mevani, Kanhaiya to campaign against BJP

Will urge Dalits not to vote for saffron party: Guj activist

Gujarat-based Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani on Monday said he would camp in Karnataka for three weeks in April and unite Dalit voters to ensure the BJP is defeated in the upcoming Assembly elections.

"I want to tell the people of Karnataka that the Gujarat model of development is disastrous," Mevani said. "I will urge the 20% Dalits in Karnataka not to cast even 20 of their votes to the BJP. I will campaign on behalf of people of Karnataka, along with the people's movement and for the downtrodden masses."

He was speaking to media on the sidelines of an event organised to commemorate birth day of the slain journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh here.

The first-time Gujarat legislator, who won as an Independent, made a strong pitch for secular forces, including the Congress, to form an alliance to defeat the saffron party. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has, however, said such an alliance will not be necessary.

While Mevani said he will not campaign in support of the ruling Congress, he said he was ready to make "ideological compromises" to ensure the BJP is defeated. "During my campaign in Gujarat, I received support from the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the CPI and others. In Karnataka, too, a strong secular alliance should be forged."

Mevani came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to deliver on promises on job-creation and preventing farmer suicides. "Where are the two crore jobs that were promised? I should refrain from commenting on the PM considering the fact that with each passing day, he is becoming irrelevant and boring. He's not capable of delivering."

JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said he will also campaign in Karnataka against the BJP. "This is not about one election. It's a question of safeguarding the country's Constitution and democracy. I will go everywhere, not to support any one party but to fight anti-Constitutional forces," he said. Kumar's JNU contemporary Shehla Rashid also called for BJP's defeat in the polls.

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