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Congress, BSP fight over garlanding Ambedkar statue

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 01:52:32 PM, Agencies

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New Delhi: As BSP and Congress play the Dalit card on the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the district authorities in Ambedkar Nagar on Wednesday told Rahul Gandhi that he could garland the Dalit icon's statue only after Mayawati's party function got over.

Congress Legislative Party leader Pramod Tewari said his party had sought written permission from the district administration for 39-year-old Rahul to garland Ambedkar's statue here.

"We had sought written permission but were denied the same," he said.

However, District Magistrate Kunwar Vikram Singh said, "We have not denied permission but we will allow the garlanding of the statue by Congress leaders only after the BSP's function ends here."

The BSP's function here is scheduled from 10 am to 4 pm while the Congress function is planned from 10 am to 2 pm.

Both the Congress and BSP are preparing to play their Dalit card on the 119th birth anniversary of Ambedkar and both the parties have organised functions at a short distance of each other in this district. The Ambedkar statue in questionis in the middle of the two places.

Tight security arrangements have been made in the district with the AICC general secretary scheduled to flag off Chetna Yatra (awareness drive) to mark 125 years of party's establishment, and BSP planning to stage a demonstration against "wrong policies" of the UPA government and "short comings" in the Women Reservation bill.

On the directives of Mayawati, a battery of senior leaders, including state cabinet ministers, will stage a demonstration, they said.

Ambedkar Nagar, which has a sizeable Dalit population, holds significance for the BSP as it had been represented by Mayawati thrice in Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999 and 2004.

Congress accused BSP of attempting to monopolise Ambedkar's legacy, saying that it belongs to the entire nation.

"It is very unfortunate. This is trying to monopolise a legacy which belongs to the entire country. Nobody has exclusive rights on the memory or the teachings of any national leader. No political party should try to monopolise the legacy of our national leaders," Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said in New Delhi.

He said the values, teachings and the goodwill generated by Ambedkar were not the exclusive domain of any one.

UPCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi complained that the entire administration was trying to prevent people from coming to Ambedkar Nagar by diverting the routes.

"I had a fight with the District Magistrate this morning. We have told them that we have taken enough lying low," she said.

The rath yatras that the Congress will launch from Ambedkarnagar will constitute the most ambitious exercise the party has ever undertaken to capture UP’s political mindspace. The 10 yatras will be spread out over 103 days, and each will last 90 days. Between them, they will reach every one of the state’s 403 Assembly constituencies.






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