New Delhi: With Dalit anger hurting the BJP’s electoral prospects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to reach out to the community on Wednesday and, playing the Ambedkar card, said no previous government had honoured the legacy of dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar as much as his.
Mr Modi’s remarks came soon after widespread violent protests erupted in different parts of the country over a Supreme Court ruling that put in place safeguards to prevent the misuse of a law meant to prevent atrocities of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Trying to connect with the Dalit community, the Prime Minister said at a function that “no government has, perhaps, given respect to Babasaheb the way our government has. Instead of dragging him into politics, we should all try to walk on the path he has shown us.”
Later, on Wednesday evening, Mr Modi held a meeting with dalit MPs belonging to the NDA to discuss the recent turn of events.
The PM expressed these views while speaking at the inauguration of an annexe building at Western Court that acts as a transit accommodation for new MPs. Lamenting that everyone had used Dr Ambedkar’s name for political gain, Mr Modi said it was his government that completed the Ambedkar International Centre though the idea was mooted when Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister.
The 26 Alipur Road House where the Dalit icon had died will be dedicated to the nation on April 13, on the eve of his birth anniversary, Mr Modi said.
Speaking further on the Western Court project, the PM appreciated the efforts of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to get it completed. He said Ms Mahajan always had MPs’ well-being in mind, and said her compassion was visible in the attention to detail given in this project. The Prime Minister said the project was completed well within the stipulated time and cost, and congratulated all those involved in its construction.