Raising doubts over Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athawale’s allegiance to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s ideals, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) publicly criticised his move to join hands with the saffron combine.
Speaking at a rally on the occasion of the party’s 12th foundation day, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that after renouncing Hinduism, Ambedkar and his followers had taken 22 pledges.
Pawar read out three of the pledges to prove the incompatibility of Ambedkar’s ideals with the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata party ideology. One of them was not to worship Hindu gods and their avatars; negate the dominance of the Hindu triumvirate — Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; and not to carry out any rituals supervised by Brahmins.
“Athawale has joined hands with political parties, the leader of one of these calls himself Hindu Hriday Samrath. The other party equates Hindutva with nationalism. How can one religion be equated with nationalism in a multi-religious and multi-cultural India?” asked Pawar.
Claiming that his intention wasn’t to criticise Athawale, Pawar said: “Athawale has given up on Ambedkar’s ideals, that’s my worry. He is free to join hands with any party. But their ideologies are not compatible,” he said.
He sadi the NCP had given Athawale’s party two ministerial posts in the past and it was not a favour. Athawale had broken ties with the NCP during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and contested seat on a Congress ticket. “After his loss, he took a different path for the assembly polls, but he didn’t get people's support...Now he has taken a different route. I wish him well,” Pawar said.