No change in Dalit reservation policy, says Modi

Modi at B.R.-Ambedkar

Ahead of elections in five states like Kerala and Bengal, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified that the NDA government is not against reservation for backward classes as the opposition trying to portray. Mr Modi also hailed Mr BR Ambedkar at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the BR Ambedkar National Memorial in New Delhi. Speaking at the event, he said that there will be no change in the reservation policy for Dalits. He also said that nobody can snatch their right, and accused his opponents of spreading ‘untruths’ on the issue. “We can never tamper with the provisions of reservation. They spread false rumour that we want to end reservation. There is no truth in it. Nothing has ever happened to the reservation for Dalits, tribals, where we are in power,” Mr. Modi added.

He also compared Mr Ambedkar to leaders like Mr Martin Luther King Junior and Mr Nelson Mandela. Mr Modi said that it was wrong to see Babasaheb as the messiah of the Dalits only. “It is a big mistake to label Baba Saheb a messiah of the Dalits. He (Ambedkar) was a vishwa manav. If Martin Luther King (Junior) can be an inspiration, Babasaheb Ambedkar can also be an inspiration for the marginalised across the world,” he said.

Mr Modi also said that Mr Ambedkar worked for social unity and equality of the country the same way Mr Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked for political unity of India. “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, through his political wisdom, created a united Bharat Mata… Ambedkar, through constitutional means, worked for social equality and unity in the country,” he said.

The opposition and critics have recently accused the NDA government of suppressing Dalits and other backward classes after the suicide of a Dalit scholar at Hyderabad University. The latest message on reservation is also significant in the wake of state assembly elections, which is going to be held in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam this year.

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