Ambedkar memorial: Cong rejects Sena allegations

Maharashtra Congress Tuesday rejected Shiv Sena`s criticism on the Indu Mill land for a memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress Tuesday rejected
allegations that it had taken up the issue of sanctioning the
Indu Mill land for a memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar with
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh only to win Dalit votes ahead of
the forthcoming municipal elections in the city.

Giving an assurance for the memorial and getting the land
allocated in reality is a tribute paid to the Dalit icon,
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao
Thakre said in a release issued here.

"It is wrong to say that it being done to win Dalit
votes. The Congress always had the willingness to construct
the memorial for Dr Ambedkar, even when RPI president Ramdas
Athawale was with the party," he said.

Athawale has forged an alliance with the Shiv Sena-BJP in
early 2011.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had on Monday in his party
mouthpiece `Samana` said that the Congress-led government
has agreed to give the Indu Mill land in central Mumbai for
construction of Ambedkar`s memorial to win Dalit votes in the
municipal corporation.

Thakre said that the Shiv Sena had opposed the memorial
when Athawale was with Congress but was raising the issue only
because the RPI leader had entered into an alliance with them.

He also sought to know why no leader from Shiv Sena was
part of the delegation which met the Prime Minister on
December 31 over the issue.

"In a way Shiv Sena expressed its opposition (to the
memorial) as none of its leaders were part of the all-party
delegation led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to meet the
Prime Minister on the issue," Thakre said.