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BJP MP courts controversy claiming people with “dubious reputations” received Bharat Ratna

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took serious exceptions to party leaders’ shooting off their mouths

bhopal Updated: Apr 16, 2017 23:07 IST
Anupam Pateriya
Anupam Pateriya
Hindustan Times, Sagar
BJP,Bharat Ratna,BR Ambedkar
BJP MP from Sagar Laxminarayan Yadav claims delay in conferring Bharat Ratna on BR Ambedkar reflects casteist mindset of the country prior to 1990(PTI Photo )

A BJP parliamentarian from Madhya Pradesh has courted controversy claiming many people with “dubious reputations” received country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

Lok Sabha MP from Sagar Laxminarayan Yadav (72) made the off-the-cuff remarks at a function at his parliamentary constituency on the birth anniversary of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar on Friday.

Opposition Congress soon took up the issue and demanded an unconditional apology from the MP, while the ruling BJP was scurrying for cover distancing itself from the remarks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party’s national executive meeting in Odisha on Sunday took serious exceptions to party leaders’ shooting off their mouths, saying they needed lessons on how to keep their lips sealed.

Dwelling on how Ambedkar was denied the honour until V P Singh-led National Front government conferred the coveted award posthumously on the architect of Indian constitution in 1990.

He said the award eluded Ambedkar until then due to the casteist mindset of the country.

Yadav claimed, despite being a “Thakur”, Singh felt the need to correct the injustice done to scheduled castes of the country.

Yadav said the award to Ambedkar brought a social change in the country. “People from SC communities took pride in it and felt elated,” he said.

Earlier, he said, many ‘Nachaiye’ (dancers), ‘Gawaiye’ (singers) and ‘chhote bade badmas’ (people with bad image) had been given the award, which he erroneously referred as ‘Desh Ratna.’

Congress’ regional spokesperson in Sagar Sandeep Sablok said the statement exposed the BJP’s casteist mindset and demeaned those great personalities who had received the award prior to Ambedkar.

State BJP chief spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said the party didn’t endorse Yadav’s statement. However, he was quick to add that it was also true that the Congress governments at the Centre did injustice to Ambekar for a long time.

Despite several attempts, Yadav couldn’t be reached for his comment.

First Published: Apr 16, 2017 23:06 IST