Dalit leader plans a national platform for youth to raise their voice. He also wants his constituency Vadgam to become a new ‘model’ for development.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s winning run can only be countered by questioning the NDA government’s performance on the economic front, independent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani said.
“We can only challenge the BJP on its economic agenda and unemployment. I am working to create a national youth platform in a month’s time, where we will raise issues related to the youth across the country,” Mevani said in an interaction at ThePrint office Monday.
Mevani, who has emerged as a modern day Dalit political icon, insisted that his proposed platform will “appeal to the youth from all sections of the society”.
The 37-year-old activist also spoke about uniting the opposition against the BJP and about raising issues which had a broader mass appeal. Here are some of his statements from the interaction:
On what helped him win
“I always raised the Prime Minister’s promise of 2 crore jobs per year. Forget about 8 crore, even 10 per cent of it has not been delivered. The people connected with this issue. I am going to make this pitch stronger in the coming days.”
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
On aligning with others for winning elections
“I can’t remain stuck to my ideology and let the BJP win all the elections. All political parties and activist groups who want to topple the BJP should join hands.”
On the evolution of Dalit politics
“Why can’t Dalits protest against issues such as public health and education? Coming together only after atrocities is not the right approach. Dalits should feel part of the larger society and accordingly fight for rights.”
On today’s Dalit political leaders
“It is unfortunate that leading Dalit faces of the country today have aligned with the BJP for political gains, and are not interested in working for issues concerning Dalits. That’s why people like Jignesh Mevani and Chandrashekhar Azad are becoming popular, and you see the youth attracted towards us.”
On not getting support from Mayawati’s BSP
“Behenji campaigned for Narendra Modi in the 2002 elections. Her party has even formed governments with the BJP. Still, they question us on our politics.”
On being linked to student leader Umar Khalid
“There is a vicious campaign to link me to some organisation and show that I am ‘anti-national’. But I will keep fighting for the youth of this country, including Dalits.”
On triple talaq
“How can a person end a relationship in a progressive society by just saying ‘talaq talaq talaq’? But I don’t trust this government on legislation.”
On his vision for his constituency Vadgam
“I want to build my own Vadgam model of development. I invite all activists, research organisations, NGOs etc to come to my constituency and train people, so they know what issues they can raise with whom, and where they have to go to complain and get things done. We welcome experts in any field – farmers’ issues, RTI activists, artists – to share their expertise with the people of Vadgam, so that it can become a model constituency. We all have a lot to learn.”
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.