• MSN Elections 2014 Battle for India
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:45:00 GMT | By PTI

Parties fight over Ambedkar legacy

BJP, Congress and BSP fight for Dalit vote, with each claiming responsibility for honouring architect of Indian constitution


Parties fight over Ambedkar legacy (© AP)

Ahmedabad/Lucknow: On Monday, political parties crossed swords over B R Ambedkar and his legacy, on his 123rd birth anniversary, in the fight for Dalit votes. Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, accused the Nehru-Gandhi family of "insulting" him by taking credit for his work in empowering marginalised communities.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Dalit leader Mayawati used the occasion to slam the Gujarat chief minister, accusing him of indulging in the politics of lies by claiming his party properly respected Dalits. She also attacked the party for taking credit for Ambedkar being awarded the Bharat Ratna.

At his poll rallies in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh and Sikar in Rajasthan, Modi targeted the Nehru-Gandhi family for seeking to pocket credit in empowering Dalits and accused them of stopping the implementation of rights given by Ambedkar.

After paying homage to Ambedkar in Ahmedabad, Modi alleged Rahul Gandhi was "insulting" and "humiliating" Ambedkar, who was a messiah to the downtrodden.

Rahul insulting Ambedkar: Modi

"It is unfortunate that these days Congress party's 'shehzaade' (Rahul Gandhi), I don't know why, enjoys humiliating Baba Saheb Ambedkar by repeatedly saying that Congress has given this right or that right. All the rights and laws have been given to us by Ambedkar," he said.

"If someone claims that he has given any right or law for the country, then he is insulting Ambedkar. Those who do not know the Constitution, they are today taking credit for these things due to political reasons," he said.

Modi also said it was unfortunate the Gandhi family has stopped the implementation of rights given by Ambedkar. He said successive Congress governments practiced the "maximum insult" to the chief architect of the Indian Constitution and did not give him the Bharat Ratna, which was given by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government soon after it came to power.

"If Ambedkar had not given us rights, then a man from extremely backward caste like me would not have stood here before you... Shehzade (Rahul) is insulting him day in and out. He keeps telling people that I give you these rights, those Acts... If the government of Madam Sonia had given us all rights enshrined in the Constitution, then citizens of the country would not have come to this situation," he told a poll rally in Sikar.

Meanwhile, Mayawati attacked BJP leaders, saying they only regarded Dalits as Hindus during election time and that the party was not happy when Ambedkar got the Bharat Ratna.

"BJP had not liked it then -- Bharat Ratna to Ambedkar, "Mayawati said, adding Modi was making "false" claims on the issue. Mayawati also said that it was due to the BSP's pressure Ambedkar was posthumously honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1990, when VP Singh was prime minister.

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