Fadnavis attempts to calm angry Dalits THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DALIT VOTE
The BJP government is already facing the ire of the Dalit community in neighbouring Gujarat. But the community’s show of strength at a rally near CST on Tuesday to protest the demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan seems to have really rattled it.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced that the state government will restore Ambedkar Bhavan before July 30 — the deadline set by Dalit outfits to begin rebuilding the demolished structure.
Fadnavis also announced a probe into the notices issued by the BMC to declare Ambedkar Bhavan a dilapidated structure and also the role of the state’s chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, who is advisor to the People Improvement Trust (PIT), which owns and demolished the structure to build a 17-storey tower. Ambedkar Bhavan had significance in Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movement against untouchability. Several Dalit outfits, including the ones led by Dr Ambedkar’s grandsons Prakash and Anandraj, took part in a protest march in south Mumbai on Tuesday, demanding action against those who had demolished the structure. The issue was also raised in the legislature on Wednesday.
Speaking on the issue in the Legislative Council, Fadnavis called the demolition erroneous. He offered an olive branch to both Prakash and Anandraj. “If Prakash and Anandraj have some plans, we will construct the structure using government funds,” Fadnavis said.