Other States

Dalit icons ignored: Mayawati

Says Kanshi Ram and Jyotiba Phule deserve Bharat Ratna

Bahujan Samaj Party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has regretted that the Bharat Ratna had not been conferred on party founder Kanshi Ram and criticised the NDA government for ignoring the claims of Dalit icons for the highest civilian honour.

At a press conference here on Saturday, she said: “The Bharat Ratna was recently given to two persons of the same caste, but eminent persons belonging to Dalit and Other Backward Castes were not considered.”

The Bharat Ratna “should have been conferred on Kanshi Ram for his contribution to the welfare of the deprived and under-privileged sections.” Dalit icons, including social reformer Jyotiba Phule, deserved the honour, she said.

Ms. Mayawati said the BJP-led government at the Centre had failed on all fronts and was making hollow promises to the people. “Dramebaazi [theatrics] will not last long.” She said the amendments proposed to the Land Acquisition Act would affect farmers and benefit the rich and the capitalists.

As for the reconversion programmes being carried out by some outfits, she said: “Attempts to establish a Hindu Rashtra by some organisations are aimed at spreading communal disharmony. The minorities are feeling insecure.” The Samajwadi Party government in the State remained a mute spectator to such activities, and this pointed to a hidden understanding between the SP and the BJP.

Ms. Mayawati said the Akhilesh Yadav government had failed to uphold the rule of law, and the Badaun gang-rape of a minor by two constables in a police station strengthened her demand for President’s Rule in the State.

BJP denies charge

Gargi Parsai reports from New Delhi:

Rebutting Ms. Mayawati’s charge of discrimination against Dalit icons such as Kanshi Ram while awarding the Bharat Ratna, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday said the allegation was “politically motivated.”

The NDA government has conferred the Bharat Ratna this year on the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya.

“In a democracy, anybody can demand a Bharat Ratna, but to link a tall leader like Atalji to casteism reveals narrow-minded thinking. He was above the politics of caste and religion. He initiated the development agenda in the country and the BJP is committed to sabka saath, sabka vikas,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

Referring to Ms. Mayawati’s criticism of the NDA government taking the ordinance route for key legislation, he reminded her that the previous UPA government which she supported promulgated 61 ordinances, while nearly 200 ordinances had been moved during Indira Gandhi's tenure at the Centre.

“The NDA government is committed to development and economic reforms, and believes that neither can wait,” he added.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:50:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/discrimination-against-dalits-in-giving-bharat-ratna-mayawati/article6751669.ece

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