Bharatiya Janta Party's Dalit leader and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan has said that Dalit icon Dr BR Ambedkar had requested Congress' Dalit face Jagjivan Ram to lobby Mahatma Gandhi to provide a cabinet berth to Ambedkar.
The claim is politically explosive as Ambedkariite Dalit politics in India opposes Gandhi and celebrates Ambedkar as a votary of autonomous Dalit politics that was deeply critical of Gandhi and the Congress Party.
Ambedkar asked Jagjivan Ram whether he did not deserve a cabinet berth in independent India, Paswan writes in his biography on Jagjivan Ram which was released on Tuesday.
When Jagjivan Ram said he was most-deserving, Ambedkar said: “Please recommend my name to Gandhiji.”
Paswan adds that Jagjivan Ram met Sardar Patel to consult him and then made a formal request to Gandhi. Gandhi, Paswan writes, assured him he would talk to Nehru.
He did so, and Ambedkar became a minister in the first government of independent India. Paswan says Jagjivan Ram was in two minds, as Ambedkar was asking him to recommend his name to Gandhi, whom Ambedkar himself had publicly attacked.
Politically, the book marks an attempt to uphold “inclusive” Dalit politics of joining mainstream parties rather than charting an autonomous route, like that of the BSP today. This, in turn, is an attempt to win Dalits for the BJP's cause.
RSS leader Indresh Kumar, who was named in an NIA chargesheet on the Ajmer blast, has written the preface of the book, which was released by BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
“People of India wanted to see Babuji as Prime Minister. They also wanted Bharat Ratna for Babuji. Those in power today can no longer give him the former honour but can still bestow him with the latter,” Kumar writes in the preface.
This is an oblique attack on the Congress for having given Jagjivan Ram a raw deal by not making him a Prime Minister.