Rajendra Pal Gautam, the minister of social welfare in Delhi, resigned today in the wake of vehement BJP protests over his attendance at a religious conversion event in Delhi on Friday.
Following his resignation, Mr. Gautam tweeted: “Today is Manyavar Kanshi Ram Saheb’s death anniversary and Maharishi Valmiki ji’s manifestation day. By a strange coincidence, today is also my birthday and I’ve been set free from many bonds. I will now firmly and without boundaries keep fighting for rights and against social injustices.
Given that the BJP used Mr. Gautam’s attendance at the religious conversion event as justification to attack the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which bills itself as the main opposition to the ruling BJP in Gujarat, where assembly elections are set to take place later this year, Mr. Gautam’s resignation is significant.
After being accused of attending a religious conversion event where Hindu deities were denounced, the AAP minister came under fire from the BJP and sparked criticism for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. At the gathering, hundreds made a commitment to become Buddhists.
The BJP demanded that Mr. Kejriwal fire Mr. Gautam after the incident, and they attacked him for refusing to do so.
Before yesterday’s rally in Vadodara, Gujarat, by Mr. Kejriwal, AAP workers removed anti-AAP posters from the area. All anti-AAP signs and banners that had been erected along the party leader’s route to the rally site were taken down by the workers. Before yesterday’s “Tiranga Rally” in Vadodara, members of the ruling BJP tore AAP banners in protest of Mr. Gautam’s alleged “anti-Hindu” remarks.