A day after violent 'Bharat bandh', BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday said a "microscopic minority of dejected and rejected political parties" made the people suffer and sought their apology to "Dalit sisters and brothers."
In a series of tweets, Shah reached out to the community, which has been protesting a Supreme Court order on a law on atrocities against it, and sought to turn the tables on the Congress by raking up its treatment to Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar.
He also blamed "vested interest groups" for spreading the panic on the issue of reservation for Dalits, saying it is done before every election and asserted that the government will do everything to protect their rights.
"Many parties treated Dalits like vote banks and ran misleading campaign on the issue of reservation but the BJP would assure the community that no party or ideology will be able to affect their rights as long as the BJP is there," he said.
Right from the day the apex court gave its judgment on the SC/ST atrocities act, the Central Government acted in an "immediate and informed" manner and has filed an effective review petition to protect the Dalits' rights, Shah said.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met MPs belonging to the scheduled castes and had assured them that the government was doing everything to protect the rights and wellbeing of "our Dalit sisters and brothers."
Through the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015, the NDA government had actually strengthened the provisions of the Act and this was in line with the BJP's commitment to the welfare of the SC & ST communities, he said.
"Due to the politically driven manifestations of a microscopic minority of dejected and rejected political parties, crores of innocent people suffered. These parties owe our Dalit sisters and brothers an apology for their misdeeds," he said.
Shah, whose party has often accused the opposition of fuelling unfounded campaign against it before elections, said the script had now become old and that vested interest groups started spreading panic about reservations before polls.
The BJP is locked in a keen fight with the Congress in the Karnataka Assembly elections, scheduled for May 12.