Mumbai : Prime Minister Narendra Modi utilized a timely opportunity, well presented to him by Mumbai event of laying a foundation for Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills compound, interestingly timed at the eve of first phase of Bihar polls, and clarified his stand and BJP’s side on reservation row, which had been sparked earlier by their Almamater RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
Cautiously distancing himself from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy, PM Modi ruled out a rethink on it and assailed a group of liars for spreading lies about quotas facing threat under NDA rule.
Modi clarified – My government is committed to the Indian Constitution including the reservation policies which Dr Ambedkar evolved for the emancipation of the socially oppressed and suppressed sections of society. With a BJP government in power and polls getting under way, a malicious propaganda is being spread that the government is against reservation. This is not politics and the falsehood must stop. A similar falsehood was spread when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was in power.
Bringing his focus to the Dalit community on Ambedkar’s memorial foundation, Modi stated that the data sheet on development of Dalits was much better in BJP-ruled states. He assured that his government would showcase Ambedkar’s life and teachings on the global platform. He said – After all, the relentless work of Ambedkar was aimed at the unity of organisation, social justice and equality, and the memorial should be of world class and state-of-art.
Modi also promised to transform five places where Dr B R Ambedkar lived and worked into pilgrimage centres called ‘pancha tirtha’. The five centres include Alipore Road House in Delhi where Ambedkar lived, the Mau house in MP, the village in Ratnagiri where Ambedkar’s parents lived, Indu Mills and the bungalow in London, where he stayed as a student.
Connecting the dots between Ambedkar and JP Narayan, He added – I feel extremely anguished when I see that Ambedkar has been confined to being a Dalit leader. Why have we not put him on par with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther. It is a pleasant coincidence that today, I had the opportunity to perform the bhoomi pujan for Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills. It also happens to be the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan whose revolt against Emergency was a tribute to Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution.
Regarding NDA allies attending this event, it was observed that, while Shiv Sena boycotted Modi’s rally at Bandra Kurla Complex, smaller parties, other BJP allies and Dalit outfits attended the foundation stone laying ceremony as well as the rally. Modi said it was heartening to see all Dalit leaders work for the Ambedkar memorial, and carefully evaded the Sena boycott at the event.