Former Lok Sabha member and RPI leader, Prakash Ambedkar on Saturday took a strong exception to UP chief minister Mayawati's statement that the nation should not be surprised if the Congress appoints a Dalit prime minister in place of Manmohan Singh ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections to garner dalit votes.
Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar, questioned why Mayawati felt apprehensive if the Congress appoints Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar or union energy minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as prime minister to garner dalit sympathy and votes.
At the opening of the Rs 685-crore Dalit Prerna Sthal on Friday, Mayawati used the opportunity to kickstart her state elections campaign, slated for 2012.
She speculated that the Congress wanted to dent the BSP's strong Dalit vote bank and for this, it could name a Dalit leader for the PM's post. She went on the claim that the Congress can stage the 'drama' of appointing either Shinde or Kumar as prime minister for some time to lure the Dalits.
Ambedkar said Mayawati should be happy if a Dalit becomes the Prime Minister. Both Shinde and Kumar are competent, Ambedkar added. Besides these two leaders, he said, the Congress has veteran leader like Buta Singh and Kumari Selja.
Mayawati also termed the Congress as "anti-Dalit" and to substantiate her claim she said that the Congress never allowed Babu Jagjivan Ram - Meira Kumar's father - who dedicated his life to the Congress -- to become the Prime Minister.
To a question, Ambedkar reiterated his call for a non-Congress non-BJP third front, including the Left parties to oust the ruling UPA and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP - as the main opposition alliance.