The foundation stone laying ceremony for the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mill was almost entirely a BJP event as the Opposition was not invited. Also, its own ally – the Shiv Sena – boycotted the function.
The BJP, however, ensured that all Dalit factions and leaders were invited to the event. Various Dalit leaders like Ramdas Athawale, Prakash Ambedkar, Sulekha Kumbhare and Anandraj Ambedkar were in attendance. The BJP wants to showcase the memorial as one of Dalit emancipation and hopes to yield its dividends in the upcoming local polls.
Congress leaders said the memorial, to be built on 12.5 acres, had been pending for more than a decade and the last Congress-NCP government had been making all efforts since 2012 to build the memorial at Indu Mill, including amending environment laws for the same.
According to Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, the BJP-led government was politicising the event.
“Our Congress-led Central government had completed the entire procedure. However, some technical problems remained which could not be done because of the Election Code of Conduct, which this government did and are now unjustly claiming credit for the memorial,” Patil said.