Ambed­kar unites par­ties scram­bling for his legacy

From BJP and Cong to Naidu and KCR, it’s a fight for Dalit votes

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

CON­TIN­UED ON P12

RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P2

HT PHOTO: SATISH BATE

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