Political leaders vied with each other to lay claim to Dr BR Ambedkar’s legacy, while accusing each other of letting down the Dalit icon. If Narendra Modi attacked the Congress for undermining Ambedkar’s legacy, Mayawati, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal trained their guns on Prime Minister saying his outreach to the dalits was eyewash.
The occasion for appropriating Ambedkar’s iconography as one’s own came on the 125 birth anniversary of the founding father of the constitution on Thursday. Modi deified dalit leader saying he was working at the feet of Ambedkar, his political rivals also hailed Babashaeb.
Ironically, Ambedkar during his speech in constituent assembly in 1949 had spoken against ‘hero worship’.
As the Uttar Pradesh elections are due early next year, slogans in favour of Ambedkar are only going to get shriller.
Modi went to Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, Ambedkar’s birthplace, kick start year long celebrations, the other leaders, including senior BJP leaders, chose Uttar Pradesh for better traction.
While, announcing a host of schemes focussed on rural poor on the occasion, Prime Minster stepped up his offensive against the Congress. He asked Congress to "repent" for what it has not done in the last 60 years. He also referred to his humble origins, saying son of a woman, who used to fetch water in others'
houses could become Prime Minister, the credit for it goes to Ambedkar.
"Some persons are distressed why Modi is doing all this. This is a matter of our dedication and conviction. We believe that social harmony can be achieved only by following the path shown by Baba Saheb. I feel proud to work at the feet of Baba Saheb."
He did not miss attacking Trinamool Congress as West Bengal electionis are on as he referred to Saradha chit fund scam saying it siphoned off poor people’s money.
Delhi CM Kejriwal questioned what purpose would be served by Modi travelling to Mhow instead he should take steps to honour Ambedkar’s spirit. He listed that Modi government should stop dismissing state governments, Modi should stop following those people on twitter who abuse women, ministers responsible for Rohit Vemula be suspended, stop asking people on their eating choices, and allowing AAP government to function.
BSP supremo who likes to keep the dalit votebank by her side during the election year cautioned people against falling prey to tokenism from the BJP.
Criticising Modi, she said although he spoke publicly on the issue of reservation because of "political compulsion", it
appears to be a "mere eye wash and a mischievous move". "Had Modi's intentions been clean, before allying fears on any move to do away with quota, he would have taken action against his partymen and RSS workers who have been issuing wrong statements on making reservation ineffective," she said adding BJP or RSS can make any dalit or backward, but that person will always be their bonded labour.
As her party also faces Congress in a four cornered fight in Uttar Pradesh, she accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for "not taking cognisance" of suicides by Dalit students when his party was in power.
While, BJP chief Amit Shah went to Haridwar in UP to address a samrasta rally saying only Modi government alone has truly imbibed the Dalit icon's inclusive vision.
JD(U) President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launched a blistering attack against BJP and RSS, saying they were chanting the name of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar but behaving in a manner opposite to the values promoted by him.