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Ambedkar remembered amid political claims over his legacy

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, April 14 (IANS): President Pranab Mukherjee led the nation on Tuesday in paying tributes to B.R. Ambedkar on his 124th birth anniversary, with events being held in different parts of the country.

The president, Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and several MPs paid tributes to Ambedkar in the parliament complex in the morning.

Mukherjee offered floral tributes at Ambedkar's statue in the parliament house complex.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Germany till Tuesday afternon, as part of his three-nation visit, paid tributes to Ambedkar, a tall figure of India's freedom movement and first law minister of India.

Modi tweeted: "Let us pledge to dedicate ourselves to creating India that Ambedkar dreamt of...an India that will make him proud."

"Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is a yug purush (man of the era) who lives in the hearts and minds of crores of Indians... Who can forget Dr. Ambedkar's contribution in the making of our Constitution? He served the nation and the people tirelessly and selflessly," he added.

Various political parties, however, sought to claim legacy of the political icon and the main architect of the Indian constitution on this day.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on this day, also launched its campaign for Bihar assembly elections on Tuesday. Congress held programmes to reflect party's commitment to the message of Ambedkar.

BJP president Amit Shah launched the party's campaign for assembly polls in Patna, saying that it will form government in the assembly polls later this year.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, whose party has Ambedkar as one of its leading icons, slammed both BJP and Congress for "trying to get dalit votes".

Ambedkar (1891-1956) was a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who campaigned against social discrimination against dalits, women and labour.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi described him as a "great icon of modern India".

"Ambedkar accomplished for the nation in a lifetime, progressive changes that take centuries to achieve," she said.

Congress sent one of its prominent Dalit leaders and former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to Ambedkar's birthplace Mhow, a cantonment in the Madhya Pradesh's Indore district to pay its tributes.

The party has planned more commemorative events through the year.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed 'Ambedkar Mahakumbh'-- an annual cultural mega event -- held at Mhow.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the capital city said all vacant posts meant for SC/STs would soon be filled.

The day also saw slugfest among political parties to claim legacy of Ambedkar.

Congress leader P. C. Chacko in Delhi targeted the BJP, saying its efforts to usurp Ambedkar's legacy will not succeed.

"No political party especially the BJP can usurp the ideologies of this foremost social reformer merely to increase their Dalit vote bank," Chacko said at an event jointly organised by National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and Bhagwan Valmiki foundation.

"Baba Saheb visions of social inclusion will always remain the motto of the Indian National Congress," he said at the event attended by senior Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hit back, saying that Ambedkar was not the property of any family or political party.

"Great leaders are not a property of a family or a political party...their vision is for the nation and the humanity," Patra told IANS.

BSP chief Mayawati, who addressed party workers in Lucknow, accused Congress and the BJP of insulting Ambedkar.

"They (political parties) always resented Ambedkar. They are engaged in drama to out do each other in observing Ambedkar's anniversary..." Mayawati said, adding that all parties used Dalits as a vote bank and never worked for their welfare.

Her party's arch rival in Uttar Pradesh, ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) bowled a political googly by announcing December 6 -- the death anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar -- as a public holiday.

At an event in New Delhi, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi slammed attempts by various parties, especially those from the right, to claim legacy of Ambedkar saying he would have found 'ghar vapsi' (homecoming) "abhorrent to the ethos of India".

Around 15 writers of Dalit literature from different parts of India assembled at Sahitya Akademi on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti. They said that literature should become the voice of voiceless.

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Ambedkar remembered amid political claims over his legacy

NEW DELHI, April 14 (IANS): President Pranab Mukherjee led the nation on Tuesday in paying tributes to B.R. Ambedkar on his 124th birth anniversary, with events being held in different parts of the country.

The president, Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and several MPs paid tributes to Ambedkar in the parliament complex in the morning.

Mukherjee offered floral tributes at Ambedkar's statue in the parliament house complex.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Germany till Tuesday afternon, as part of his three-nation visit, paid tributes to Ambedkar, a tall figure of India's freedom movement and first law minister of India.

Modi tweeted: "Let us pledge to dedicate ourselves to creating India that Ambedkar dreamt of...an India that will make him proud."

"Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is a yug purush (man of the era) who lives in the hearts and minds of crores of Indians... Who can forget Dr. Ambedkar's contribution in the making of our Constitution? He served the nation and the people tirelessly and selflessly," he added.

Various political parties, however, sought to claim legacy of the political icon and the main architect of the Indian constitution on this day.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on this day, also launched its campaign for Bihar assembly elections on Tuesday. Congress held programmes to reflect party's commitment to the message of Ambedkar.

BJP president Amit Shah launched the party's campaign for assembly polls in Patna, saying that it will form government in the assembly polls later this year.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, whose party has Ambedkar as one of its leading icons, slammed both BJP and Congress for "trying to get dalit votes".

Ambedkar (1891-1956) was a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who campaigned against social discrimination against dalits, women and labour.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi described him as a "great icon of modern India".

"Ambedkar accomplished for the nation in a lifetime, progressive changes that take centuries to achieve," she said.

Congress sent one of its prominent Dalit leaders and former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to Ambedkar's birthplace Mhow, a cantonment in the Madhya Pradesh's Indore district to pay its tributes.

The party has planned more commemorative events through the year.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed 'Ambedkar Mahakumbh'-- an annual cultural mega event -- held at Mhow.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the capital city said all vacant posts meant for SC/STs would soon be filled.

The day also saw slugfest among political parties to claim legacy of Ambedkar.

Congress leader P. C. Chacko in Delhi targeted the BJP, saying its efforts to usurp Ambedkar's legacy will not succeed.

"No political party especially the BJP can usurp the ideologies of this foremost social reformer merely to increase their Dalit vote bank," Chacko said at an event jointly organised by National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and Bhagwan Valmiki foundation.

"Baba Saheb visions of social inclusion will always remain the motto of the Indian National Congress," he said at the event attended by senior Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hit back, saying that Ambedkar was not the property of any family or political party.

"Great leaders are not a property of a family or a political party...their vision is for the nation and the humanity," Patra told IANS.

BSP chief Mayawati, who addressed party workers in Lucknow, accused Congress and the BJP of insulting Ambedkar.

"They (political parties) always resented Ambedkar. They are engaged in drama to out do each other in observing Ambedkar's anniversary..." Mayawati said, adding that all parties used Dalits as a vote bank and never worked for their welfare.

Her party's arch rival in Uttar Pradesh, ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) bowled a political googly by announcing December 6 -- the death anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar -- as a public holiday.

At an event in New Delhi, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi slammed attempts by various parties, especially those from the right, to claim legacy of Ambedkar saying he would have found 'ghar vapsi' (homecoming) "abhorrent to the ethos of India".

Around 15 writers of Dalit literature from different parts of India assembled at Sahitya Akademi on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti. They said that literature should become the voice of voiceless.