Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and minister in Delhi government, Rajendra Pal Gautam, resigned on Sunday, 9 October over an event — Buddha Dhamma Deeksha Samaroh — in which he participated, where hundreds of Dalits from across Delhi-NCR converted to Buddhism.
"I do not want my leader Shri Arvind Kejriwal or the party to be in any trouble because of me. I am a true solider of the party and I will follow the ideals shown by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Gautam Buddha throughout my entire life," Gautam said in his letter.
The resignation comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders started sharing clips of the event on social media, targeting Gautam, and also filed a complaint against him. They further demanded that the AAP should "sack him (Gautam). for his attempt to stoke communal tensions and spread hatred along religious lines within the country."
WHAT ELSE DID GAUTAM SAY IN HIS RESIGNATION?
He started his letter with "I, Rajendra Pal Gautam, am a true patriot and and a follower of Ambedkar."
He further went to highlight the atrocities on Dalits in India. "For past few years, I am seeing that the honour of sisters and daughters of my society is being looted and they are murdered. At some places, people are being killed for keeping a moustache, while some are being beaten to death for entering a temple and touching the idol. Even children have been brutally murdered for touching a pot of water. People have been murder for taking out a wedding procession on a mare. My heart is pierced everyday by incidents of such caste discrimination," Gautam said.
"I attended the Buddha Dhamma Deeksha Samaroh on 5 October 2022 in my personal capacity. It had nothing to do with AAP or I being a part of council of ministers," he added.
He further said that the great-grand nephew of Ambedkar, Rajratna Ambedkar, recited the 22 vows by Ambedkar, and he was followed by over 10,000 people present their, including Gautam himself.
"Since then, I am seeing that the BJP is target our leader Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party, and it is very saddening for me," Gautam said.
"I have received a lot of respect and cooperation from Arvind Kejriwal and I will always be grateful for it," Gautam said, adding that he really appreciate the steps taken by the party towards strengthening India.
"The 22 vows given by Babasaheb were also printed by former BJP minister Thawar Chand Gehlot in the book 'Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol-17'. These vows are repeated by crores of people at thousands of places every year. But the BJP has objection to these 22 pledges given by Babasaheb. They are using it to play dirty politics and being hurt by it, I am tendering my resignation," Gautam said.
He further added that "I do not want my leader Arvind Kejriwal or the party to be in any trouble because of me. I am a true solider of the party and I will follow the ideals shown by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Gautam Buddha throughout my entire life."
"Some people with Manuwadi mindset have been threatening to hurt me and my family over social media and phone, but I will not get afraid of these things. I will fight for the rights my community with courage, strength and honesty. Even if I have to sacrifice myself in this fight, I will not stop fighting," Gautam said.