Lucknow, Jun 29 (PTI) The real success lies in building society and the nation according to values and ideals of Dr B R Ambedkar, said President Ram Nath Kovind as he laid the foundation stone of a memorial to the Dalit icon here on Tuesday.
Hours later, BSP supremo Mayawati questioned the timing of the stone-laying ceremony, accusing Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath government of 'deceit' and 'deception' just months before the state Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narndra Modi in a tweet hailed the UP government’s decision of constructing a memorial to Ambedkar, saying it will “popularise the ideals of respected Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar among the youth”.
Earlier, laying the stone of Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural Centre at a programme in Lok Bhawan here, Kovind said for the Dalit icon, it was the country that mattered, not religion, caste or sect.
The President said 93 years ago on this day, Dr Ambedkar started 'Samta' magazine to propagate his idea of an egalitarian society.
'Without equality, all-round development of society is not possible,' he said.
The President said Babasaheb always advocated equal rights to women.
'Women have been given the same fundamental right to equality as men in the Constitution drafted by him. Dr Ambedkar wanted that the fundamental right to equality should be given a clear legal base through a separate bill on issues related to inheritance of property, marriage and other aspects of life', he said.
'Today, our legal system is progressing on the path suggested by him on many issues like property rights for women. This showed that Babasaheb's visionary thinking was far ahead of his times,' he added.
Kovind further said the 'real success lies in building a society and the nation according to the values and ideals of Babasaheb.' Though progress in this direction has been made, still needed to cover much ground, he added.
The President said Ambedkar's contribution to the nation-building revealed his extraordinary capability and talent.
He was not only an educationist, economist, jurist, politician, journalist, sociologist and social reformer but also made invaluable contribution to the fields of culture, religion and spirituality, Kovid stressed.
The President said, 'morality, equality, self-respect and Indianness are four most important ideals of Babasaheb's vision.' Kovind said even when the freedom struggle was going on and there was Hindu-Muslim animosity, people used to say that they are Indians first and then Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
'But Babasaheb used to say that we are Indians first, Indians later and Indians in the end. That means there is no place for religion, caste and sect,' Kovind said.
The President said Dr Ambedkar propagated the ideology of Lord Buddha and batted for the welfare for all.
'Objective of his efforts was taking Indian values like compassion, fraternity, non-violence, equality and mutual respect to the masses and to realise the ideal of social justice. Lord Buddha's message of compassion and harmony was the basis of his life and politics,” he said.
Earlier, welcoming the President, Governor Anandiben Patel said the centre will be a source of inspiration for the youth.
'Dr Ambedkar, the architect of our Constitution, is a symbol of respect for the entire country and his name is written in golden letters,' she said.
CM Adityanath said Dr Ambedkar is remembered all over the world and the centre being set up by his government will preserve memories of Ambedkar.
However, BSP president Mayawati termed the stone-laying ceremony as a pre-poll act of 'deceit' and “deception” by the BJP government to serve its electoral interest.
Had it been not a “deceit”, “deception” and “drama” before the 2022 Assembly polls, “the President would have been inaugurating the centre and not laying the foundation stone” for it, said Mayawati in a tweet.
“The laying of the foundation of a cultural centre in the name of Babasaheb now when the assembly elections are nearing -- what is it, if not a drama, after neglecting crores of Baba Saheb's followers for almost the entire period they have been in power,” asked Mayawati.
Reacting to the allegations, UP Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya told reporters, 'Mayawati is the national president of Bahujan Samaj Party, which was formed as a part of Dr B R Ambedkar's mission. She should feel happy that by the efforts of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the foundation of the Ambedkar cultural centre was laid today.” Last week, the Uttar Pradesh cabinet had approved a proposal of setting up the memorial at a cost of over Rs 45 crore The memorial will have a library, research centre, picture gallery, museum, multipurpose convention centre, cafeteria, dormitory and an auditorium with a capacity to accommodate 750 people.
A 25-foot-high statue of Ambedkar will also be installed. PTI ABN RDK RDK