Face of Dalit agitation in Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, received a funding of Rs 3,00,000 from Man Booker Price-winning author Arundhati Roy, to kickstart his campaigning as an independent candidate in the poll-bound state.
Mevani, who had raised a fundraiser thanked Arundhati Roy today for contributing the amount to his movement.
"I am just one of his many supporters. I contributed to his campaign because I believe Jignesh Mevani represents a kind of breakthrough in mainstream Indian politics. A solidarity that rises from the bottom upwards...one with vision, sophistication, confidence and a real, multi-faceted understanding of the direction we as a people need to move in," Roy told Outlook.
The Dalit leader will contest the Gujarat polls from the Vadagam (SC) seat of Banaskantha district as an Independent candidate with outside support of the Congress. In his appeal for crowdfunding, he says his movement seeks to 'mobilise Dalits across Gujarat to assert themselves against years of mob-rule.'
In his fundraiser, titled 'Janta ki ladai janta ke pese se' (Citizens' fight with citizens' money), Mevani says he will stay away from politcal and corporate funding to maintain 'autonomy and complete freedom of the movement'.
According to his fundraising website, Mevani has already raised Rs 5,50,000 in a week, 3,00,000 of which is contributed by Arundhati Roy.
Roy, a strong advocate for Dalit rights, had been at loggerheads with the BJP government which accused her of being 'anti-national'.
She had in 2015, returned her National Award as part of what she called an "unparalleled political movement against ideological viciousness".
In the same year, she had accused the Modi government of 'promoting Brahmanism" in the name of "Hindu Rashtravad", and said that words like "intolerance" is inadequate to describe the "fear" in which the minorities are presently living.
Roy had also alleged that the BJP was trying to "glorify" social reformers in the country as "great Hindus" and cited Dr B R Ambedkar as one of them, though he had left the Hindu religion.
Mevani, on the other hand, has reiterated that his fight is against the BJP government in the state.
He says he seeks to 'relentlessly work against the fascist communal and brahmanical Gujarat government led by RSS-BJP.'