Congress competes with NCP to woo Dalit voters
The Congress is trying to outsmart its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that is busy wooing Dalit voters ahead of the municipal elections. HT reports.Updated: Jun 08, 2011 01:32 IST
The Congress is trying to outsmart its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that is busy wooing Dalit voters ahead of the municipal elections.
While the NCP wants the Dadar station to be renamed Chaityabhoomi, the Congress has gone a step ahead and decided to revive the issue of allotting mill land for the makeover of Dr BR Ambedkar’s memorial at Shivaji Park.
The Congress on Tuesday announced that it would push for the makeover of Chaityabhoomi — a long pending demand of various dalit outfits.
State Congress president Manikrao Thakre said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan would meet the prime minister and demand extra land from Indu Mills for the project. “During a four-hour meeting on Monday night, the CM assured us that he would take up the matter ,” he said.
The Chaityabhoomi, where Ambedkar was laid to rest more than five decades ago, is revered by dalits across the country. Members of the community have been demanding that the ‘pious’ place be rebuilt into a national memorial.
For this purpose, the government wants the neighbouring defunct Indu Mill to spare at least 4 to 8 acres of land. The mill is owned by Nationalist Textiles Corporation, a central government undertaking.
Several rounds of talks with the union textile ministry resulted in no positive outcome. The ministry is reportedly not keen to part with the land located in a prime area.
However, worried at the prospects of losing Dalit votes to the NCP as well as the Republican Party of India which is tying up with the saffron combine, the Congress has decided to once again take up the issue with the Centre.
The NCP’s plan to rename Dadar station kicked up a controversy with the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena criticising the move. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, however, said the party had not taken any such decision.
But not to be left behind, the Congress claimed that it had made the demand much before its ally. On Tuesday, it went a step ahead and took all the credit. “The Congress does not replicate ideas floated by others. In fact, it’s the other way around,” said Thakre.
The Congress and the NCP have been competing with each other after Ramdas Athawale shifted his loyalty to the saffron combine.
Congress has placed 102 demands before the chief minister for implementation, while the NCP will place its 51-point agenda at its anniversary function at Sion’s Somaiya Ground on June 10.
First Published: Jun 08, 2011 01:31 IST