Congress must repent for 'undermining' Ambdekar's legacy, says Modi

PTI4_14_2016_000176B Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tributes to Babasaheb B R Ambedkar during the Maritime India Summit, in Mumbai | PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of "undermining" the legacy of B R Ambedkar and asked why it is getting perturbed when his government is working ardently in this direction, saying he felt proud to work at the "feet of Baba Saheb".

Stepping up his offensive against the Congress, he asked the party to "repent" for what it has not done in the last 60 years.

Launching a village self governance campaign at Ambedkar's birthplace here, Modi made a strong pro-poor and pro-village pitch while underlining the need to strengthen the rural economy to boost the country's development.

Kickstarting the 'Gram Uday se Bharat Uday Abhiyan' (village self governance campaign), the Prime Minister said he has been inspired by the dalit icon's vision.

Later, addressing a rally, Modi, who has been attacked by Congress for trying to "approporiate" national icons, hit back asking why successive Congress governments had not developed the five places (panchteerth) associated with Ambedkar during their tenure.

Listing a number of measures that his government is taking to carry forward the vision of Ambedkar including on maritime projects and the empowerment of weaker sections, Modi said,"for so many years, the vision of Ambedkar was undermined."

"Some persons are distressed why Modi is doing all this. This is a matter of our dedication and conviction. We believe that social harmony can be achieved only by following the path shown by Baba Saheb. I feel proud to work at the feet of Baba Saheb."

On his government's decision to construct a memorial at 26 Alipur Road in Delhi, which was the last home of Ambedkar, the Prime Minister asked the Congress why did it not do so in the last six decades.

"Why did you not do it in the last 60 years? When we are doing it, you are getting uneasy. You should repent over why you did not do this all these years," he said. "Those engaged in vote bank politics thought of nothing else than dividing the society," he said.

"Some people have been calling themselves the messiah of the poor for the last six decades. The account of what they have done for the poor in last 60 years is shocking even as they keep talking of the poor day and night," Modi said as he highlighted the steps taken by his government in the last two years like giving LPG connection to the poor and Jan Dhan Yojana.

With West Bengal Assembly elections underway, Modi also referred to Saradha chit fund scam in which the names of some Trinamool Congress leaders have figured as he spoke about challenges before the poor in saving their money.

"Sometime there is Saradha chitfund and sometime some other chitfund. The money of the poor is taken away," he said, adding that this happened because they did not have access to banks. His government has tried to change it by increasing their access to banks with Jan Dhan accounts.

"We connected the poor with the mainstream, which did not happen in the last 70 years," he said.

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