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Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Mayawati of not allowing any Scheduled Caste leader to rise in Uttar Pradesh, as he said the Dalit community needs the “escape velocity” of Jupiter to underline that they needed to make more efforts for success.
Targeting the BSP supremo, Gandhi said one Dalit leader or two Dalit leaders would not be enough to take their movement forward, rather that lakhs of Dalit leaders are needed.
He also said there is a big opportunity for the Congress to create a leadership space in the community and that it should ensure that Dalit leadership is created in all fields.
Reaching out to Dalits, the Congress vice-president expressed solidarity with the community, observing that the life of an “underdog” is difficult.
Drawing an analogy with astronomy on how Dalits can achieve success, he said the velocity needed to escape from Jupiter’s atmosphere is much more than that of the earth. “The escape velocity for earth is 11.2 km/sec while that of Jupiter is 60 km/sec. In India we have the concept of caste. Thus, there is an escape velocity here. For a Dalit to achieve success the escape velocity required is that of Jupiter. More effort is needed,” Gandhi said.
Citing the example of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, Gandhi said he is looked up to with pride as he was the first Dalit to reach the escape velocity and go to America.
Escape velocity is the speed that an object needs to be travelling at to break free of a planet or the moon’s gravity.
Noting that Dalit empowerment in India has taken place in stages, Gandhi said the first stage involved Ambedkar, who along with Congress, contributed in writing the Constitution and ensuring reservation for them.
“The second stage was of Kanshi Ram (late BSP chief) who used the empowerment from reservations to build an organisation,” Gandhi said while speaking at a programme on national awareness for Scheduled Castes’ empowerment here.
He said Mayawati, a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, had played a role in this stage.
The Congress leader maintained that the country is going through the third phase of Dalit empowerment where the most important aspect is leadership development. “If you want to take this (Dalit) movement forward, then one Dalit leader or two Dalit leaders would not be enough. Lakhs of Dalit leaders are needed,” he said.