Ambedkar unites parties scrambling for his legacy
From BJP and Cong to Naidu and KCR, it’s a fight for Dalit votes
NEW DELHI: Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, was at the centre of a national discourse on Thursday as politicians vied with each other to claim the Dalit icon’s legacy on his 125th birth anniversary.
The scramble by political parties to project themselves as champions of the Dalit cause came in the midst of crucial assembly elections in West Bengal with 23.5% lower caste population and ahead of voting in Tamil Nadu with 20% scheduled caste, besides Kerala and Puducherry.
Seven more states are going to polls next year and Dalits constitute a major chunk of voters in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Modi, who went to Ambedkar’s birthplace Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, asked the Congress to “repent” for allegedly undermining the Dalit leader’s legacy for 60 years.
Listing measures taken by his government to carry forward Babasaheb’s vision, he said, “Some persons are distressed why he is doing all this…We believe that social harmony can be achieved only by following the path shown by Babasaheb.”
He also credited Ambedkar for his – the son of a woman who fetched water in others’ households -- becoming the PM.
His criticism of the Congress came three days after opposition leaders, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, attacked the BJP and the RSS over Ambedkar’s legacy, at a meeting to mark what the party said was the end of year-long celebrations to mark the Dalit leader’s anniversary.
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