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Yatras and feats: Parties go all out to woo Dalits on Ambedkar birth anniversary

The BJP organised yatras in all 75 districts of the state and held meetings in Dalit dominated villages on Saturday.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2018 00:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Ambedkar,Ambedkar birth anniversary,Modi
People gather at a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar at Pimpri in Pune, on the occasion of his 127th birth anniversary on April 14, 2018. (HT Photo)

The 127th birthday celebrations of Bhimrao Ambedkar on Saturday set the stage for a fight for Dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh.

Political parties tried to outdo each other to woo Dalit voters on the occasion.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP state unit president offered floral tribute at the Ambedkar statue at Hazrataganj crossing in the heart of the city.

The chief minister also visited Ambedkar Mahasabha where he was conferred ‘Dalit Mitra’ (friend of Dalits) award. Yogi highlighted the welfare and development schemes launched by his government for the Dalit.

In a bid to woo Dalits, the BJP organised yatras in all 75 districts of the state and held meetings in Dalit dominated villages.

“Community feasts were also organised in the villages to spread the message of brotherhood among various castes,” said a BJP leader.

Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav unveiled a bronze bust of Ambedkar at the party’s state headquarters in Lucknow. The statue will be permanently installed at the Lohia auditorium which so far had only statues of six socialist leaders (SP icons).

Paying floral tribute, Akhilesh Yadav talked about Ambedkar’s contribution to India’s democracy and social justice.

All along the Vikramaditya Marg, where the SP office is located, the party replaced all of its other hoardings with those featuring Ambedkar.

The party also celebrated Ambedkar Jayanti at all the district headquarters. It distributed sweets too in some places.

Bahujan Samaj Party workers, led by zonal coordinator Naushad Ali and Akhilesh Ambedkar, gathered on the premises of the iconic Ambedkar Memorial in Lucknow to pay tribute to the Dalit icon.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati visited the Ambedkar memorial located near her official residence in New Delhi to pay obeisance to the Dalit icon. She attacked the central government and accused it of diluting the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

The BSP leaders called on party supporters to ensure the party’s victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.They cautioned party workers against a ‘conspiracy’ by rival parties to divide the Dalit and backward voters. Under the BSP rule, several schemes for the welfare of the Dalits were launched but the BJP government put the schemes in cold storage after coming to power in UP in 2017, the Mayawati-led party claims.

The Congress leaders organised programmes in party offices in all the districts. Party leaders alleged that the BJP was using Ambedkar to try and grab Dalit votes but had done little for the uplift of the scheduled castes.

They called upon the party supporters to teach the BJP a lesson in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

A special programme organised at UPCC headquarters here on Saturday.

Senior Congress leader and former minister Ram Krishna Dwivedi said the Constitution written by Ambedkar gave rights to the weaker and deprived sections of society. Attempts were now being made to weaken the Constitution, he said. Former minister Ammar Rizvi said by following the path shown by Ambedkar, the country could face prevailing challenges on the political front.

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 00:07 IST