Ambedkar’s pic must in local bodies’ offices

LUCKNOW: Amid row over saffron coat on public offices and places, the Yogi government has ordered all local bodies in the state to display photographs of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar in their offices. The order is mandatory.

The state panchayati raj department, in a directive issued to all 653 nagar panchayats, has said that their offices should have a photograph of BR Ambedkar with his date of birth and the day he attained ‘Nirvana’ (death anniversary).” The order, dated January 18, issued by additional chief secretary, panchayati raj, Chanchal Kumar Tewari mentions ‘Ramji’ be added to Dalit icon’s name to make it Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.

Governor Ram Naik had earlier said that ‘Ramji’ was the name of Ambedkar’s father and therefore his real name was Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. The order has come a month after CM Yogi Adityanath had directed all government departments and both houses of UP assembly to display Ambedkar’s photograph. Analysts see it as another bid by the BJP government to woo dalits ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Dalit voters are presumed to have had played a key role in the BJP win in 2014 parliamentary elections.

Nagar panchayats being the last rung of urban local bodies, the move could send out positive signals to Dalit way down at the grassroots level, said experts. It can also irk BSP chief Mayawati, who has been accusing the BJP of invoking Ambedkar for political gains. On her 62nd birthday last week, Mayawati had accused the BJP and the Congress of working in tandem to wean away her party’s Dalit voters.

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