In a veiled attack on the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said till some people including Dalits are kept away from their rights, the nation can’t change.
Addressing a public gathering here, Rahul said, “I am here to assure you that it’s my responsibility, your responsibility, everyone’s responsibility to fulfil Babasaheb’s dream.”
Further hitting out at the Modi government over the controversial ban on a students group at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Madras whose members are mainly Dalits, Rahul said, “Babasaheb Ambedkar’s dream is still incomplete.”
“When voices in IIT Madras are stifled, it shows that some people’s rights are still being taken away,” Rahul added.
Rahul also criticised the caste system, which still prevails in India. “Constitution has been in place for years, but casteism still exists,” he said.
“Babasaheb belonged to everyone, not just the weak. We see his influence everywhere today,” Rahul said while recalling him as a Dalit icon.
He added, “Babasaheb is part of a rare class of men who belong to the whole world, not only one nation.”
“Babasaheb’s genius is too large to fit within the narrow borders of caste and nation,” Rahul said.
Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi, who is in a day-long visit here, went to the birth place of Ambedkar, the chief architect of Indian Constitution, and paid rich floral tributes at the grand memorial of the Dalit icon.
Today marks the centenary of Ambedkar’s graduation from Columbia University in the USA.
Rahul’s visit to Mhow, the birthplace of Ambedkar, flags off Congress’ year-round celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar with the exercise being seen as an attempt by it to reach out to the Dalit community.
Mhow, earlier known as Military Head Quarter of War (Mhow), was in 2003 rechristened as Dr Ambedkar Nagar.
Soon after landing in Indore, Rahul drove to this cantonment town where the memorial to Ambedkar is located.
The Congress Vice President was accompanied by party General Secretary Digvijay Singh and former Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde among other leaders.
Rahul’s outreach campaign includes addressing a public meeting and interaction with Dalit leaders and activists later in the day.
Congress has drawn up plans to organize a series of functions to pay tribute to the contributions of Ambedkar on his 125th anniversary.