To find out how elections touch daily life, The Indian Express veers off the campaign trail to spend a week in Buddha Nagar, a slum in Gulbarga, one of Karnataka’s poorest districts, a traditional Congress bastion and backyard of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. The excitement in this Dalit colony is reserved for a bigger festival here, Ambedkar Jayanti. A time to dress up, be seen, and be heard — loud and clear.
On Sunday, as India marked the 128th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar, political parties apart, people in large numbers gathered at Race Course Circle in Vadodara city to pay obeisance to the Father of the Indian Constitution.
PM Modi gave the sandals to Ratli Bai under the ‘Charan Paduka Yojana’, a Chhattisgarh BJP government scheme. Started back in November 2005, it entitled one male member per family of a tendu patta collector to free footwear every year.
Appealing to Maoists, PM Narendra Modi referenced Ambedkar and said, “I want to tell the youth who have taken to the path of violence that Babasaheb has given us the Constitution, all the protection you want is in the Constitution."
Across UP, Ambedkar statues have been vandalised, putting the state government and Dalits on the edge. In many villages, people are standing guard, mindful of what such vandalism has led to in the past