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BJP, Mayawati in War of Words Over Laying Foundation Stone of Ambedkar Cultural Centre

File photo of BSP chief Mayawati. (PTI)

File photo of BSP chief Mayawati. (PTI)

Mayawati also lamented that "the world-class grand buildings and parks built by the BSP government have been grossly neglected since the previous SP regime took over

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and BJP engaged in a war of words on Tuesday over the laying of the foundation of the Ambedkar Cultural Centre.

BSP chief Mayawati called the move a pre-poll act of “deceit" and “deception" by the ruling BJP to serve its electoral interest. Had it not been “deceit", “deception" and “drama" before the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, “the president would have been inaugurating the centre and not laying the foundation stone", she said.

Reacting to Mayawati’s allegation, Uttar Pradesh Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya told reporters that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo should feel happy that by the efforts of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the foundation of the Ambedkar Cultural Centre was laid.

Questioning the timing of the event, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief OP Rajbhar said, “When the Assembly polls are barely six months away, you are laying the foundation stone of the Ambedkar Cultural Centre, installing idols of Suheldev. These are only attempts by the BJP to grab votes." Reacting to the allegations of the BSP chief, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “Till now, the panchteerth — the five places associated with Babasaheb Ambedkar — used to be discussed. Lucknow is going to be the sixth ‘teerth’ for Babasaheb and it should have been welcomed. Mayawati should stop wearing a political lens." The BSP supremo sought to undermine the Adityanath government’s move, asserting that this regime is no different than the previous ones led by Akhilesh Yadav and the Congress in denying the rights of Dalits and backward class people.

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She made these allegations in a series of tweets soon after President Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation stone of the memorial, to be named after Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar, which is to come up on a sprawling plot measuring nearly 5,500 square metre in the state capital. It will also have a 25-foot-high statue of Ambedkar. The cost of the project is estimated to be over Rs 45 crore.

“The laying of the foundation of a cultural centre in the name of Babasaheb now, when the Assembly polls are nearing — what is it, if not a drama, after neglecting crores of Babasaheb’s followers for almost the entire period they have been in power?" Mayawati asked. In another tweet, she said, “The BSP is not against the setting up of any centre in the name of the highly venerable Babasaheb, but doing all this now for the sake of electoral interest is a gross deception." “Had the Uttar Pradesh government done this work earlier, the president would have been inaugurating the centre and not laying the foundation stone," the former chief minister said.

She did not spare the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Congress governments either. “in resorting to such deceit and drama, no one is any less than the other — whether it is the BJP government or that of the SP or the Congress," Mayawati said.

“In crushing the rights of Dalits and backwards and heaping injustice and atrocities on them, they all are the same — this is known to all and very unfortunate. “As a result, lakhs of government posts reserved for Dalits and backward class people are lying vacant," she said.

Mayawati also lamented that “the world-class grand buildings and parks built by the BSP government in the name of their saints, gurus and great men in Uttar Pradesh have been grossly neglected since the previous SP regime took over and the situation continues under the BJP government". This trend is commendable, she said sarcastically.

Swami Prasad Maurya said, “Mayawati is the national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which was formed as a part of Dr B R Ambedkar’s mission. She should feel happy that by the efforts of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the foundation of the Ambedkar Cultural Centre was laid today." “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given respect to Babasaheb by developing five memorials in the form of pilgrimage spots at places associated with him. These five spots are in Ambedkar’s birthplace in Mhow, Deeksha Bhoomi in Nagpur, Parinirvaan Sthal in Delhi, Chaitanya Bhoomi in Mumbai and the Ambedkar Memorial Home in London," he added.

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first published:June 30, 2021, 07:36 IST