INDORE: A war of words has broken out between ruling BJP and opposition Congress over claiming the legacy of B R Ambedkar and renaming of his birth place Mhow ahead of the birth anniversary of the dalit icon on April 14 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally.
The town, which came up in Indore district in 1818, is known by abbreviation MHOW (Military Headquarters of War) by Britishers given that it had once housed army installments and a cantonment.
Dalit leader and Congress national secretary Sajjansingh Verma today said the BJP is playing politics over Ambedkar and accused the saffron party of "failing" to implement a 13-year-old decision to rename Mhow as Ambedkar Nagar.
"BJP only wants to cash in on the dalit vote bank and is not interested in the welfare of dalits and their uplift," he said.
Verma recalled that in 2003, the then Congress government led by Chief Minister Digvijay Singh had decided to change the name of Mhow to Ambedkar Nagar.
Denying the Congress' charge, state General Administration Minister and dalit leader Lal Singh Arya said the government has been using the name Amdedkar Nagar in place of Mhow.
"Congress treated dalits as the vote bank. The party is using Ambedkar's name to further its politics after it was thrown out of power," he alleged.
Arya said senior BJP leader and former state Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa had announced that a huge building will be built in the memory of the dalit icon in Mhow in 1990.
"Our party has kept the promise as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan dedicated Ambedkar memorial in 2008," he added.