Bengaluru: “Mr Narendra Modi loves acronyms. His name itself is an acronym that stands for 'Murder of Democracy in India'. Modi as PM is consistently shrinking space for parliamentary debate, while also hijacking Ambedkar. This is hypocrisy," said Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, addressing the media during the Dr. Ambedkar International Conference, here on Sunday.
Mr Ramesh said the BJP does not believe in the Constitution and it is weakening parliamentary institutions. He claimed that the BJP and RSS were hijacking human rights advocate Ambedkar, just the way, they did with Mahatma Gandhi.
“Dr Ambedkar would not approve of Modi in the last two years for bringing in all bills through the money bill. He even included Aadhaar in the money bill," Mr Ramesh said.
On the Dalit and other minority groups as a vote bank, he admitted that there was a competition between political parties, be it Congress, BSP or BJP for Dalits, Tribals and other minorities.
“The Congress has believed in social empowerment of weaker sections. We are launching leadership programmes for younger Dalits. 20% of the popular vote was for congress in 2014 elections. It is a challenging situation now and we recognise its seriousness. We need aggressive outreach for women, Dalits and other minorities," Mr Ramesh said.
On the idea of Mahagatbandhan, he believed that the Congress is strong enough to come back to power on its own in Karnataka and it will have a renewed mandate by 2018.
"At a national level, there is no doubt that in 2018, there has to be an understanding of all progressive, democratic, secular, opposition forces that believe in democratic debate," he added.
“My personal view is that awards like Bharat Ratna and Padma create more trouble than solving anything. We are better off without them. I feel musicians, spokespersons and civil society activists should be honoured, but not politicians. Public service and politics is its own reward," he said.
A reporter sneaked into the VIP lounge at the B.R. Ambedkar International Conference venue. Not realising that the ID tag for VIPs and media representatives were of the same colour, hospitality volunteers were about take him to the stage when they realised that he was mistaken for a speaker wearing a shirt of the same colour.
A journo throng?
When Congress MP Jairam Ramesh arrived at the media centre of Dr Ambedkar International Conference to address the press, the room was packed with the public, trying to get a glimpse of him. The confused MP said, “Let's start but who are the media people here?”