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BJP seeks Centre's help in acquiring Ambedkar's London bungalow

The Maharashtra BJP has requested the Centre to intervene in acquiring and preserving the bungalow where Dr. B.R. Ambedkar lived in London while pursuing higher studies at the London School of Economics during 1920-21.

The present landlord of the 2,050 sq feet, three-story house situated at 10, King Henry Road, NW3 had, a few months ago, put out an advertisement for its sale/auction after the Indian government's repeated failed attempts to purchase it.

In a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, senior BJP MLA and its Mumbai president, Ashish Shelar has requested his “intervention” and “assistance” in taking up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the acquisition and preservation of the building. 

“As this is an international matter, it has to be dealt through the Union Government,” Mr. Shelar said expressing concern over the news of the sale/auction of the historical house. 

He said the purchase would be a “fitting tribute to the Architect of the Indian Constitution.”

The house's official agents Goldschmidt and Howland have put it up for sale and pitted its price at Rs. 40 crore in Indian value.

Originally, a six bedroom terraced house, it has now been converted into a one-bedroom garden flat and a five-bedroom maisonette. A blue plaque at the house’s entrance commemorates Dr. Ambedkar’s stay there. “A show of strength is necessary to earn respect. And as people who owe our freedom to him, we shud do our best 2 keep this heritage!” Mr. Shelar tweeted later.

The previous NCP-Congress Government led by Prithviraj Chavan, towards the end of its term, had requested the Centre for its nod to the purchase of the house and also initiated the matter with the British deputy high commission in Mumbai. However, there was no follow up on that.

The BJP said the previous government did not initiate any action to purchase the house. “The previous government was informed of Babasahab Ambedkarji's flat being on sale but didn't take action,” Mr. Shelar said. 

The BJP’s efforts to seal the iconic house in London comes a month after the  Centre gave its nod for the construction of a memorial for Dr. Ambedkar at the now defunct Indu Mill in Mumbai. A memorial for Dr. Ambedkar at the 12.5-acre compound in West Dadar had been a longstanding demand of Dalit groups.

 

 


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:35:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-seeks-centres-help-in-acquiring-ambedkars-london-bungalow/article6775588.ece

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