Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government will continue to set up parks and memorials in the names of Dalit icons despite the criticism by political opponents of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, Chief Minister Mayawati suggested Wednesday.
"We have been constructing parks and memorials in the names of important Dalit and OBC (Other Backward Classes) personalities just to give due respect to them," she said while addressing a gathering on the occasion of birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.
Throwing an open challenge to her detractors, BSP supremo Mayawati said her government would not get bogged down by the opposition criticism of memorials and parks built in memory of Dalit leaders.
"The anti-Dalit and anti-Ambedkar mentality of opposition parties can be seen today in the stiff opposition to the BSP, which follows Ambedkar`s ideology," she said, adding "it was because of this that the issue of memorials and parks was under severe criticism and was also dragged to courts."
In her brief address after paying floral tributes to B R Ambedkar on his 119th birth anniversary, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, "Neither the BSP nor my government will bow down even a bit to the criticism of opposition parties on the memorials and parks set up in honour of these great men and will leave no stone unturned to provide them due respect."
Speaking at the sprawling Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Privartan Sthal, one of the dream projects of her government for which she had faced flak, Mayawati was critical of
successive central governments specially the Congress for "ignoring" great men belonging to Dalit and backward castes.
"It was the anti-Dalit mentality which stopped the successive Congress and BJP governments from giving due respect to these saints and greatmen", she said, terming the
Congress role as "condemnable".
Stressing that it was the anti-Dalit mentality because of which Ambedkar was denied Bharat Ratna by the successive central governments, she said it was only when the BSP entered Parliament for the first time in 1990 that this "folly" was rectified.
"Had the successive Central governments taken care to give due respect to the great men belonging to Dalit and backward castes, I would not have to do so," she said.
The BSP president, who is scheduled to make an aerial survey of the dharnas being staged by her party all over the state today against Women`s Reservation Bill, said though her party was not against the measure, it would not serve any purpose without a separate quota for the Dalit, backward, minorities and poor among the upper castes."
Mayawati said Ambedkar too had similar views on the subject.
BSP leaders and workers gathered at the spot raised slogans against those opposing construction of memorials and parks for Dalit leaders.