Defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetisation, Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble on Thursday said the BJP government was only following in the footsteps of Dr B R Ambedkar.
“Changing the country’s currency every ten years was a concept which was recommended by Ambedkar,” he said, adding that “Ambedkar in his book Problems of Rupee has said the Indian currency should be changed every ten years”.
“However, implementing the idea of Ambedkar required courage, which was shown by the Modi government. It was successfully implemented to curb black money,” he said.
“Demonetisation was received very well by Ambedkar’s followers and the poor and the middle-class. Only a handful of people whose interests were hurt are complaining,” he added.
Successive electoral results after the demonestisation, which went in favour of the BJP in Maharashtra shows its acceptance by people across caste and class, he observed.
Asked if the growing assertion by right wing outfits in the name of Ram temple and cow vigilantism was alienating Dalits from the BJP, he said, “It is an outcome of the social media, which is going overboard. Why are we presuming that the livelihood of Dalits entirely depend on cows? It is baseless. To the contrary, Dalits have socially and educationally evolved over the years. They are exploring alternative jobs. They are no longer confined to the job of deskinning dead cows or making shoes,” he said.
“If we study Ambedkar, he always talked about social, educational and economic prosperity among the Dalits and others. The upliftment of individuals was his primary objective. And it was not confined to Dalits alone,” he added.
Kamble said, “The general sentiment among Dalits is, Ram was born in Ayodhya. So nothing wrong to have a temple.”
“In my constituency, there are 50,000 Muslims (Qureshi). Now, even they admit that it is not necessary to sell cow meat. After the ban on cow meat in Maharashtra, they have shifted to selling goat and chicken meat. Whether it is Dalits or Muslims, the transition from one traditional job to another takes time and could bring some hardship. But it is part of the process, which is acceptable to the communities…”