Former President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a true follower of B.R. Ambedkar and was striving to turn the latter’s vision of social reforms into a reality.
Mr. Kovind was speaking at a function to release the book Ambedkar and Modi: Reformer’s Ideas Performer’s Implementation, published by BlueKraft Digital, in New Delhi on the eve of Mr. Modi’s birthday.
The book has a foreword by music composer and Rajya Sabha member Ilaiyaraaja. In the 12 chapters, an attempt has been made to draw parallels between Ambedkar and Mr. Modi’s vision and efforts in the fields of infrastructure, education, socio-economic mobility and gender equality, a consonance that the BJP as a political party has been at work to establish as its support base among the Scheduled Castes has also grown.
Mr. Kovind said that Ambedkar’s vision of a self-reliant India was being carried forward by Mr. Modi. “Work done by Prime Minister Modi in form of Swacch Bharat, Antyodaya scheme, Ujjawala scheme, electrification scheme, New Education Policy, bank accounts for all are examples how his work is going on on the lines of the vision of Babasaheb,” he said.
“It was Babasaheb who used to say that we are Indian, we were Indians and we will remain Indians. Now, PM Modi also says, India first,” Mr. Kovind said, adding that Mr. Modi was possibly the only politician in the country who celebrated the 60th year of adoption of the Constitution by organising the ‘Samvidhan Gaurav Yatra’ in 2010.
“Modi ji, who was Gujarat’s Chief Minister at that time, walked throughout the yatra. This much is his respect for Babasaheb and the Constitution he had given to India,” he said.
Prime Minister Modi had also been proactive in developing five sites connected with Ambedkar as the panch teerth (the five pilgrimage spots), Mr. Kovind said.
Interestingly, he maintained that Ambedkar was never in support of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. It was Modi government in 2019 that revoked the special status under Article 370. Mr. Kovind said it was “a matter of pride” for him that he got an opportunity to witness the same as President.
Speaking on the occasion, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the book was dedicated to Babasaheb’s ideas and their implementation by the PM.
“Both Babaseheb and PM Modi were not born with a silver spoon. They both struggled a lot in life and lived in scarcity. They succeeded against all odds,” he said, adding that no leader in the country had tried to implement the vision of Ambedkar as Mr. Modi did. “What couldn’t happen in 60 years has happened in the past eight,” he said, taking a dig at the previous governments.
Former Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L. Murugan were also present on the occasion.