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Eyeing Dalit votes, BJP minister likens Ambedkar with Upadhyay

To make a dent in Congress traditional Dalit vote bank, BJP leaders on Sunday tried to drag BR Ambedkar into BJP’s ideological umbrella.

jaipur Updated: Feb 19, 2017 20:34 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times
Arjun Ram Meghwal addresses a meeting in Barmer. (HT PHOTO)

BARMER: To make a dent in Congress traditional Dalit vote bank, BJP leaders on Sunday tried to drag BR Ambedkar into BJP’s ideological umbrella.

Addressing a programme organized by Samajik Samrasta Manch in Barmer, Union minister of state for finance and corporate affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal claimed that Baba Saheb’s ideology was quite close to that of Pundit Deendayal Upadhyaya, the party ideologue of the Bhartiya Jana Sangh (forerunner of the BJP).

Union minister Meghwal said Deendayal Upadhyaya and Baba Saheb have always favoured national unity. While citing a few examples Meghwal said that similar to Deendayal Upadhyaya, Baba Saheb Ambedkar was also opposed to accord special status to Jammu & Kashmir. Meghwal claimed that Nehru had betrayed the Baba Saheb and passed the bill to accord special status to Jammu and Kashmir. He said that if Baba Saheb would have been successful in his effort, there would have been no need for section 370 there.

Meghwal also claimed that Baba Saheb never liked Congress ideology. He said that Baba Saheb and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee were the two leaders in Nehru cabinet who were not from the Congress.

During his speech Meghwal lashed out at Congress for ignoring Dalits and alleged that the Congress leadership has always considered ‘Dalit’ as their vote bank and used them for their political mileage “My intention was not to criticize anybody but to give example to the people to help them see the truth,’ he said.

The Ddalit community is enjoying majority in western Rajasthan. Post election period this community is considered as Congress traditional vote base.

Political observer Neeraj Joshi said that for the past few years, the BJP’s traditional vote base in the region — the Rajput community — has started shifting their allegiance. He also said the Jats usually favour the party in power. “Left with no other option, the BJP is now eyeing the ‘dalit’ vote bank to strengthen its base in the region,” Joshi said.

Deputy speaker at state assembly, Rao Rajendra Singh and chief engineer at Northern Railway, N RChoudhary, also addressed the programme. Revenue minister Amararam Choudhary, Sheo legislator Manvendra Singh and Chohtan legislator Tarunrai Kaga were also present on the stage. BJP district president Jalam Singh Rawlot, however, was seen while sitting among the people.

The organizers, later, invited him on the stage but he refused to join them. Later, when reporters asked Rawlot why he refused to go on state, he said that it was not a BJP programme. He said that he was more concerned with the programmes organized by the party.

First Published: Feb 19, 2017 20:34 IST