Bhopal/Jaipur: Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments on Tuesday said they would withdraw all the "political cases" filed by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government against workers of political parties and Dalit activists.
MP Law Minister P.C. Sharma made the announcement a day after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati issued an ultimatum to new Congress governments in the state and in Rajasthan that her party will withdraw support to them if they do not revoke cases filed against "innocent people" during the April 2 Bharat Bandh of last year called by dalit groups.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also said that his government would revoke cases registered against Dalits during the Bharat Bandh of April 2 last year after reviewing them.
In Bhopal, Sharma said: "We (Congress) have been fighting (against the BJP government). Irrespective of any party those who have been fighting the BJP government which had sent people to jail... those political cases will be withdrawn.”
On Monday, Mayawati issued a statement saying if the newly elected governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan do not act swiftly and withdraw the cases against innocent persons framed in Bharat Bandh, the BSP may have to reconsider extending outside support to the Congress governments.
Last week, Sharma had indicated that the government was drafting a proposal to withdraw "politically motivated" cases against political and trade union leaders filed during the BJP's rule during the last 15 years.
The BSP has two members in the 230-member Assembly in which the Congress has 114 MLAs and is two short of the majority mark.
The Samajwadi Party has one MLA and has also extended support to the government. There are four independents.
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 99 members and its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal has one MLA. There are six BSP MLAs and 13 independents.
The Congress had supported the protest in April 2018 against the changes to the SC/ST Act brought in by the Supreme Court which were later nullified by a legislation passed in Parliament.
In Jaipur, speaking to the media at the Congress office, Chief Miniter Gehlot said: "Our government will review all such cases to ensure that innocents are released."
He said that Mayawati's demand was valid. The previous government had framed cases against many people "and hence our government will review all such cases".
"In fact, I am thankful to Mayawati for giving support to our party. She herself took the initiative to extend support to the Congress and hence I am thankful to her," Gehlot added.