IANS/Mhow, Madhya Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday launched a campaign to promote rural development on the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar from his birth place here and said the late leader fought for equality and dignity in society.
“It is my privilege that I am here, on the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar. I bow to this land. He fought against injustice in society. His fight was for equality and dignity,” Modi said.
`Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan’ (Village Self Governance Campaign) aims to generate nation-wide efforts to increase social harmony across villages, strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions, promote rural development, and foster farmers’ progress. It will continue till April 24, the Panchayati Raj Day.
Modi said he was fortunate to be in Mhow, the birthplace of Ambedkar.
“Baba Saheb Ambedkar was the second name of determination. He never drifted away from his path of working for the Dalits and backwards despite facing insults. With his treasure of wisdom and degrees from some of the world’s famous universities, he had several opportunities for his own growth but he left them due to his ambition to do something for the society,” Modi said.
The prime minister laid stress on the development of villages for the growth of the country and said the focus of this year’s budget was on villages and farmers. “All our development initiatives have to be centred around rural development.”
Modi also laid stress on digital connectivity in villages. “This is difficult to do, but we need to make a start somewhere.”
Modi said he wanted the incomes of farmers to double in the next few years. “Purchasing power of people in rural India has to increase and this will power India’s economy. Give our farmers adequate water and see the wonders our farmers can do.”
He complimented Madhya Pradesh Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan “for chalking out a comprehensive road map to double the income of farmers by 2022 in the state.”
Modi said Panchayati Raj institutions have to be made stronger and more vibrant.
In New Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee led the nation in paying tributes to Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Indian Constitution.
Mukherjee paid tributes at Ambedkar’s statue in Parliament House lawns.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, federal ministers, leaders of political parties and people in large number also paid floral tributes to Ambedkar.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Ambedkar’s contribution spread across every field of national development.
“His faith in democracy, which he shared with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and other stalwarts of the freedom movement, is one of his proud legacies to our country,” she said.
As Ambedkar said in the “last session of the constituent assembly, our Constitution has given us not just a political democracy, but also a social democracy, guaranteeing equality of all and empowerment of the weak and the marginalised.”
In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying “those who make a mockery of the Indian Constitution” are now celebrating the birth anniversary of Ambedkar.
“They make a mockery of the Constitution and then celebrate the birth anniversary of Ambedkar extravagantly to pretend as if they are close to his ideas and thoughts,” Kumar said at a function to pay tributes to the Dalit icon.
He said the BJP was going to town with Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary only with a view to winning the votes of the weaker sections of society.
“It’s their lust for power, nothing more. They have nothing to do with the ideology of the Dalit icon,” he said.
While Ambedkar fought for the unity of the society and championed the cause of the deprived people, the BJP believes in dividing the society and exploiting the deprived people for political gains, he said.
“Dalit students have been harassed in universities across the country and forced to commit suicide by those in power at the Centre who feign love for Ambedkar.”
Functions are being organised all over the country to remember the contribution of Ambedkar in the building of the nation. The day was observed as “Social Harmony Day”, an official statement said.
“Portraits of Ambedkar are being garlanded at village panchayats and literature about his life and work is being distributed. Discussions about his teaching and work are also being held,” it added.
Born on April 14, 1891 to Bhimabai Sakpal and Ramji in Madhya Pradesh, Ambedkar died on December 6, 1956.
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