The untold story behind Ambedkar Jayanti holiday that dates back to 1987

Had it not been for the efforts of one retired government employee, you would have missed out on a holiday.

Had it not been for the efforts of RL Kain you would have missed out on a holiday.

It is only after Kain's request to Delhi Government that a holiday was declared on the occasion Ambedkar Jayanti. Now he has written a strong letter to Arvind Kejriwal to write a recommendation to Centre to make Ambedkar Jayanti a gazetted holiday.

The story dates back to 1987 when the Delhi Assembly was yet to be formed and there used to be Metropolitan Council of Delhi instead. At that time, the capital was still a Union Territory.

In the council, Congress leader Krishna Tirath had moved a resolution to announce Ambedkar Jayanti as a holiday. The resolution was unanimously passed. Two provisions were made in the resolution:

#1 To make Ambedkar Jayanti a gazetted holiday

#2 To display portrait of Baba Saheb Ambedkar in Delhi Vidhan Sabha.

The second provision was taken care of, however the first one was not fulfilled.

Subsequently when the Delhi Government was formed, BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana, who became CM in 1993 in a starred question, declared that the government was making Ambedkar Jayanti a holiday as per the decision of the council. This move subsequently fizzled out, however, and it was not ratified as a holiday by Delhi Government Cabinet of Ministers.

Since then, Ambedkar Jayanti has been a discretionary holiday. But Kain, a 73-year-old retired employment officer in Delhi Employment Department, made sure to make an official request to Delhi Government in this regard, every year.

Kain has now written a strongly worded letter to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal reminding him that five of AAP MLAs had promised that a holiday on Ambedkar Jayanti would be gazetted. But this has not happened so far.

Year after year as per Negotiable Instruments Act, Kain has made a request for the holiday. His request with Delhi Government goes to Department of Personnel and Training, which in turn sends the request to PMO. Only after this procedure is followed a holiday is announced, Delhi LG passes an order to announce it a holiday.

Kain says: "Delhi Government should write to Centre to make Ambedkar Jayanti a gazetted holiday. In fact it should be a National holiday keeping in mind Baba Saheb Ambedkar's contribution."

So far there are only three National holidays: Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. It is mandatory for all states to observe holidays on these three days only. It is not necessary that Centre and state holidays list would be the same.

Kain says there is no record to show that Gandhi Jayanti had been approved as National Holiday by the Cabinet of Ministers. His RTI queries have revealed there is no file in Government records which proves Gandhi Jayanti was approved as National holiday. He says his inquiries in DoPT have revealed that if Delhi Government makes a representation to the department to make Ambedkar Jayanti as gazetted holiday, then the department would promptly take it up.

Delhi CM media advisor Nagendra Sharma said, "since last three years there has not been a single occasion when Ambedkar Jayanti has not been declared as a holiday. However we will look into the matter."