Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused the previous governments of “not awarding” Bharat Ratna to Babasaheb Ambedkar, the chief architect of Indian Constitution, stating everyone knows who got the prestigious award and when.
Speaking after laying the foundation stone of Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial, the Prime Minister heaped praise on Dr BR Ambedkar.
Addressing a public meeting here, PM Modi said, “We know who got the Bharat Ratna and when. But they did not give the Bharat Ratna to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.”
The Prime Minister also announced that November 26 will be observed every year as "Constitution Day" and there will be awareness programmes on the Indian constitution in schools/colleges across the country.
Also Read: Congress neglected BR Ambedkar, says PM Narendra Modi
“26th November will be marked as Constitution Day. People must know about our constitution, how it was made,” PM said.
While hailing Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, PM Modi said, "Babasaheb Ambedkar is an inspiration not just for one community but for the entire world."
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“Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar faced so many challenges but there was no bitterness in him. He is a Maha Purush,” PM added.
PM Modi further said that five landmarks associated with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's life will be developed as 'Panch-Tirth'.
Later, while speaking after laying the foundation stone for two new Metro lines at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here, PM Modi said infrastructure is the key to the development of the nation, and congratulated Roads, Highways and Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for working towards better infrastructure.
During the event PM firmly ruled out a rethink on the reservation policy.
Invoking Ambedkar's legacy on the eve of the first phase of Bihar polls, the Prime Minister categorically ruled out scrapping of reservations in government jobs and educational institutions, and assailed "a group of liars" for the false propaganda that it is facing threat under the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre.
"Every time when a BJP government is in power, a group of liars spreads the malicious propaganda that we are out to scrap reservations...It happened during the Atal Bihari Vajapayee government's time as well," Modi said addressing at a well-attended public meeting here.
"Falsehood must stop. Terrorising society must end. This is not politics," Modi said.
The Prime Minister's assertion came a day ahead of the first phase of Bihar polls where reservation is a hotly-debated topic following following RSS chief's Mohan Bhagwat's call for a reivew.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad have been quick to latch on to Bhagwat's remark to claim there was a sinister attempt to do away with reservations for the backward classes and weaker sections.
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The two new Mumbai Metro corridors - the 18.5 km Dahisar East-Andheri West route estimated to cost Rs 4,994 crore and the 16.5 km Dahisar East-Andheri East route estimated at Rs 4,737 crore, in quick succession.
The Prime Minister, during his half day visit to Mumbai today, also laid the foundation stone of the new Rs 7,915 crore container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
Maharashtra Governor CV Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, union ministers Nitin Gadkari, and Santosh Gangwar, officials, several prominent Dalit leaders and other invitees also attended the programmes.
However, the entire Shiv Sena leadership starting from party president Uddhav Thackeray to city Mayor Snehal Ambekar boycotted the functions.
The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party criticized Fadnavis for "converting a national function" into a party function and not inviting other party leaders for the event.
"We welcome the foundation stone laying ceremony of Ambedkar Memorial, the project initiated by the Congress-NCP Government. We regret Maharashtra government's attempts to politicize it by portraying it as a BJP function," said senior state Congress leader and legislator Sanjay Dutt.
NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said in a statement, "Fadnavis is a man with small heart. He should have personally invited NCP president Sharad Pawar who had championed the cause of Indu Mills. It was the NCP which had demanded that Ambedkar Memorial should be set up there."
Taking a dig at the Modi governmnet, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam thanked PM for "carrying forward" the party's project to make the world-class Ambedkar Memorial today.
Referring to the boycott by ruling ally Shiv Sena, Nirupam tweeted: "Complete breakdown in Maharashtra ruling alliance - they hate each other like 'sautan' (mistress)."
Most banners and hoardings on the day's events in different parts of the city blacked out the Shiv Sena and other parties with the focus on BJP national and state leaders.
According to plans, the Ambedkar Memorial will have a more than 100 feet tall statue of Ambedkar, a stupa, museum, a library and research centre and other facilities for attracting global tourists.
(With Agency inputs)