Atal Behari Vajpayee’s efforts ensured Bharat Ratna for Ambedkar: Smriti Irani

AMETHI: Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said that it was only due to the efforts of former PM and senior BJP leader that Dalit icon BR Ambedkar was conferred the award in 1990 during VP Singh government.
“Baba Saheb ko Bharat Ratna diye jaane ki charcha tab hui jab VP Singh ki sarkar aayi aur Vajpayee ji aur Advani ji ne nivedan kiya ki Baba Saheb ko sammanit kiya jana chahiye (The talk of Bharat Ratna being given to Baba Saheb was initiated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani ),” said Irani, who was on a twoday visit to Amethi, the parliamentary constituency of Congress president .

In an apparent swipe at the Congress and BSP, Irani said, “Woh log jo Baba Saheb ka jhanda lekar chalne ki baat karte hain… woh log janata janardan ko yeh jawab nahi de payenge ki Bharat Ratna us samay kyo nahi mila jab Congress satta mein thi.(Those who claim to be the flagbearers of Baba Saheb should answer public why Bharat Ratna wasn’t conferred upon him when Congress was in power),” she said.

Political experts said Irani’s statement was a pot shot at BSP chief who has been cozying up to the Congress to challenge BJP in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BSP chief, experts said, has consistently been accusing the Congress of denying Ambedkar his right of being honoured with country’s highest civilian award. Mayawati has also been maintaining that her party supported VP Singh government on two conditions: conferment of country’s highest civilian award, and application of Mandal commission report envisaging quota for OBCs. Both BJP and BSP had supported Janata Dal to counter Congress then.

Irani added that BJP government continued the tradition of honouring Ambedkar by installing his picture in the Centrall Hall of Parliament House.

“Modi sarkar ne hi ye tay kiya ki Baba Saheb ka naam itihaas ke pannon mein amar ho,”she said, adding that Modi government had also included a special tableau on BR Ambedkar in the Republic Day parade.

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