AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today said B R Ambedkar was not just a Dalit leader but also a true national icon of the country.
"Let us not limit Babasaheb Ambedkar as a Dalit leader only, as he was much more than that. He was the one who gave us our Constitution and worked hard to see that everyone gets equal opportunity. He was a true national icon and true patriot. He was an international leader," Patel said at an award distribution ceremony held here.
The ceremony was conducted as part of Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary celebrations by the Gujarat government.
The Gujarat Chief Minister also asked people to walk the path shown by Ambedkar and come out of the age-old traditions and social evils.
"I believe that only education cannot eradicate social evils and superstition from the society. Even today, people who are doctors are not ready to go for inter-caste marriages.
We have to change our mindset to bring revolution," she added.
Patel claimed the (state) BJP government never indulged in vote-bank politics and only focused on development.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development brought by him in the state as the Chief Minister, Patel said "People still remember what Gujarat was before 2001 and what it has become today. You can see development all around. I believe that if (Narendra) Modi was not made the Chief Minister in 2001, our state might have been same today as it was prior to 2001."
State Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Ramanlal Vora and other Dalit leaders, MLAs, and MPs were also present.
Vora said Ambedkar was true visionary, whose ideas were way ahead of his time.
"In those days (1950s), he gave a blue print about power generation, so that electricity can be supplied to each household. If the government at that time had accepted his views and plans, electricity would have reached to each and every citizen many years ago," he added.