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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Naming Eastern Freeway is a political gimmick: Ambedkar

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 02, 2013
First Published: 10:28 IST(2/7/2013) | Last Updated: 10:31 IST(2/7/2013)

Upset with his grandfather’s name being dragged into a political fight, the grandson of late Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar slammed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (NCP) over the naming of the Eastern Freeway.

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The recently inaugurated Eastern Freeway.

Ambedkar, the founder of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), on Monday termed the NCP’s demand of naming the freeway after Dr Ambedkar as a ‘political gimmick’, pointing out that an existing road from Byculla to Sion was already named after the Dalit icon.

“What is the point of naming another road parallel to this existing one after Babasaheb? It’s ridiculous.The NCP, a party of Marathas, is keen on spreading its wings and is trying to attract Dalit votes,” said Ambedkar.

He also criticised the MNS for demanding that the 16.8km-long freeway be named after late Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

“During his lifetime, MNS did not follow Thackeray. Now that he is gone and elections are round the corner, they are fighting for his legacy,” he said.

Ambedkar said that instead of lobbying for constructive proposals such as setting up of a bank that can give credit to young Dalit entrepreneurs, political parties were engaged in irrelevant politicking.

He also slammed the Republican Party of India’s similar demand saying that it was of “no real consequence to Dalits”.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Devendra Fadnavis also cautioned parties against engaging in futile politics over renaming of the freeway.

The Sena has so far remained silent over the MNS’s demand.

But, Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman in the BMC, on Monday said, “According to Section 61 (p) of the Mumbai Municipal Act 1888, names of roads in the city should be approved by the corporation in its general body meeting. The MMRDA or state government does not have the sole authority to name any street.”

He added that the state government had not followed the legal process when it named the Bandra-Worli Sea link after late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Shewale said he will write to the chief minister to ensure that protocol is followed this time.


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