Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tried to bring an end to the debate on reservations for the underprivileged, saying lies are spread over the issue whenever the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comes to power.
"Those who did not do anything for 60 years often spread lies. I remember it well when Vajpayeeji became prime minister; they started saying reservation would go. He was the prime minister for two terms. Nothing of that sort happened, but lies were still spread," Modi said at the foundation laying ceremony of B.R. Ambedkar National Memorial here.
In Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where the BJP has been in power for many years, "nothing has ever happened to the reservations for Dalits and tribals," but lies were still spread to mislead the people, he said.
These misinformation campaigns were carried out by people who only want to do politics on the issue of reservations, the PM said.
Modi paid glowing tributes to Babasaheb B.R. Ambedkar, comparing him with American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. He said it has been proven time and again that whenever the BJP came to power at the centre and in various states, efforts were made to uphold the teachings and values B.R. Ambedkar.
"There are misgivings against us. But the truth is we in the BJP have always had utmost respect for Ambedkar," the Prime Minister said.
"If Martin Luther King Jr. is seen as an image of fight against injustice, B.R. Ambedkar should also not be seen as second to anyone," he said, adding that Ambedkar was the "Vishwa Manav (world leader)".
The ruling BJP and the Modi government have been under attack over controversies pertaining to the death of a Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University and the reported "pressure" from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to dilute the existing reservation policy.
At the end of the two-day national executive meet on Sunday, the BJP central leadership charted out a detailed roadmap to reach out to the Dalits.
The thrust of Ambedkar's teachings for the people was to educate themselves because "education followed by getting the people organised" can lead a community on the road to success and prosperity, said Modi.
"The struggle as emphasised by Ambedkar's teachings can only come after these," he said.
He said his government was trying to realise Ambedkar's dreams by providing electricity in 18,000 villages in a fixed time frame.
"When in these villages you get power supply, do not give credit to Modi. Give credit to Ambedkar."
"These all are his ideas; only some people in between sabotaged these works," he said, in a veiled criticism of the Congress. He lamented that even after 60 years some villages in India remain in darkness.
"Babasaheb was the voice of the marginalised," Modi said, adding that the founding father of the Indian Constitution should not be seen as a leader of any caste.
"Rather he was a protector of all human values.. We should not limit him to our borders."
"To call Ambedkar the messiah only of the Dalits is a great injustice to him. He raised his voice against any and all injustice," Modi said.
Modi said farmers' welfare figured prominently in Ambedkar's economic philosophy.
"In order to realise one of his dreams, I will launch a technology on April 14 that will help enable farmers get updated information about market rates of agri products," the PM announced.