UNION HRD Minister Arjun Singh disappointed Ambedkar Mahasabha office-bearers, who felicitated him for his pro-reservation stand, here today. Contrary to their expectations, Singh did not make any announcements on their demands that included provision of reservation for Dalits in the judiciary.
“The issues raised by you are already under PM’s consideration and I hope all those steps that you want will be taken,” was all that he said.
Bharat Ratna Bodhisatwa Baba Sahab Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha on Wednesday organised a function to felicitate the senior Congress leader on the occasion of Ambedkar’s death anniversary.
Senior IAS officer and joint secretary, Government of India, and an active member of the Mahasabha, Harishchandra said Singh was made the chief guest after ‘due deliberations’. Familiar with the minister’s love for reservations for the oppressed and the boldness with which he often expresses it, the organisers were ostensibly expecting some major announcement from him from a Dalit platform in a poll-bound State. And to ensure that it happens, the organisers did their level best to get the Congress leader into making an announcement.
While praising Singh, they reminded him how many former PM VP Singh had made pro-Dalit announcements from the same Mahasabha compound.
So, Mahasabha general secretary Lalji Prasad Nirmal, while reading out demands to the Minister, said the Dalits and the backwards be given reservation in the judiciary and an all-India Judicial Board with posts reserved for Dalits be constituted. He urged the minister that Dalits and the backwards be given reservation in the private sector too.
However, Singh in his speech refrained from saying anything that could create a controversy especially when Parliament was in session. This disappointed Dalit activists, who included former IAS RD Sonekar, former DGP Sri Ram Arun, former IG Darapuri and others. Of course, the minister showered praise on Ambedkar and made a strong case for social and economic equality.