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Congress, BJP workers clash in Mhow

Congress workers clashed with BJP activists over the use of saffron colour in banners marking Ambedkar jayanti celebrations in Babasaheb's birthplace Mhow.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Indore
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2004 04:02 PM IST

BJP and Congress workers clashed in Madhya Pradesh's Mhow district, the birthplace of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, during the celebrations marking the 114th birth anniversary of the architect of the Constitution.

The Congress workers alleged that the BJP was trying to saffronise the celebrations, as thousands of followers paid tributes to Babasaheb at Kali Paltan, AB Road where a huge memorial has been constructed.

The people started coming to Mhow from Wednesday evening and occupied all suitable places to stay. Since early morning on Thursday, they visited the Babasaheb’s birthplace. Political leaders from most of the prominent parties also came here to pay their tributes. The first leader to visit this place today was Union Minister Sumitra Mahajan who arrived in Mhow at 8 am.

She was accompanied by State Minority Commission vice-chairman Indresh Gajbhiye, deputy chairman of State Planning Commission Bherulal Patidar, Satyanarayan Agrawal and president of Ambedkar Anniversary Celebration Committee Dr Ram Lal Prajapati. They garlanded the statue of Ambedkar near the town hall of Mhow and then took part in ‘Chetna Yatra’ to reach Ambedkar Janam Bhumi on foot.

Later, under the guidance of Boddh Bhikshu Bhante Dharamshil a ‘Kalash Yatra’ was taken out which started from Dreamland Square and reached Janam Bhumi passing through Main Street and Sanghi Street. When the BJP leaders reached Janam Bhumi and went on the stage, they clashed with the celebration committee and former committee president Trilok Singh Bhatiya. Bhatiya was arrested by the police and later released.

Bhatiya said he and his supporters were opposing saffron colour of the banner, which used to be white or blue. He said the committee members who are from BJP are saffronising the whole proceeding, which is not good for a place like Ambedkar Janam Bhumi. Reacting to the same, Dr Ram Lal Prajapati and Ram Kishore Shukla said the saffron colour is not a symbol of any political party so there was no need to raise such useless issue.

Ambedkar Nyas chairman and founder member of Ambedkar Memorial Bhante Dharamshil said there is no colour code for the banners and there is nothing wrong in using saffron colour in the banner. The unique feature of today’s programme was the presence of both the Congress and BJP on stage.

Former State Congress president Radha Kishan Malviya, Congress Lok Sabha candidate Rameshwar Patel, MLA (Mhow) Antar Singh Darbar, City Congress president Kailash Pandey, Dr Ram Lal Prajapati and other BJP leaders shared the stage. Leaders from both parties addressed the public.

Chief Minister Uma Bharti, who was to arrive at Ambedkar’s birth place at 4 pm, could did not make it. Several organisations had arranged free food and drinking water stalls for the devotees coming from distant places today.

Ekta Manch under Harish Chand Kamle provided free food at Hari Phatak Square, BJP Women Wing provided about 30,000 cold water pouches under the guidance of Raman Yadav. Similarly,  Buddhist Society of India provided food packs.

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