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Government to observe BR Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary in a big way

The committee included senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani, Sadanand Gowda, Ram Vilas Paswan and Suresh Prabhu.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:May 30, 2015, 3:34 PM IST
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Government to observe BR Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary in a big way
The committee included senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani, Sadanand Gowda, Ram Vilas Paswan and Suresh Prabhu.

New Delhi: Amid a race between BJP and Congress to claim the legacy of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, the Union Cabinet on Saturday decided to observe in a big way the 125th birth anniversary of the architect of the Indian Constitution.

The Cabinet was apprised of the constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to suggest different programmes and activities to be undertaken by various ministries, departments, states and Union Territories to celebrate Ambedkar's anniversary and spread his thoughts and ideas.

The committee included senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani, Sadanand Gowda, Ram Vilas Paswan and Suresh Prabhu.

Briefing the media after a meeting of the Cabinet, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Cabinet was informed of 16 major activities being undertaken by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to promote Ambedkar's ideology and philosophy. These initiatives included setting up of Ambedkar International Centre at 15, Janpath at a cost of Rs 197 crore.

Prasad and Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot ruled out any political motive behind the government's elaborate plans but hit out at Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who will kick off Congress' nation-wide celebrations of Ambedkar's anniversary from the Dalit icon's birth place Mhow in Madha Pradesh on Tuesday.

Congress leaders are also holding a meet today to chalk out plans for the celebrations. "Rahul Gandhi and his party never honoured Ambedkar. Neither he got Bharat Ratna nor his oil painting was installed in Parliament premises as long Congress was in power. If today somebody is going there (Mhow), I want to ask why did he not do it for so many years?"

"Today they (Congress) are doing it as the land beneath their feat has slipped," Gehlot, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, said.

Both BJP and Congress are planning to observe Ambedkar's birth anniversary in a big way this year in their attempt to reach out to the Dalit community.

Assembly elections are due in Bihar this year and the BJP is wooing the Dalit and Mahadalit communities in its attempt to capture power in the key Hindi state on its own.

The 2014 Lok Sabha polls saw caste barriers breaking in key north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where a sizeable sections of Dalits voted for BJP.

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