Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar Tuesday reiterated his reservations to the proposed statue for Dalit icon Dr B R Ambedkar and suggested that an international study centre dedicated to the architect of the Indian Constitution would be a better tribute.
The Dalit leader’s comments come days after he suggested the Bombay High Court asked the state government to utilise funds sanctioned for the proposed statue of his grandfather at Indu Mill in Mumbai for improvement of the cash-strapped Wadia hospitals for women and children instead.
“The greatness of B R Ambedkar cannot be measured with the height of a statue. It is a futile exercise undertaken by successive governments to serve their politics,” Prakash Ambedkar told The Indian Express.
On January 15, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had approved a proposal to raise the height of the proposed statue for Ambedkar by 100 feet and cleared the revised expenditure of Rs 1089.95 crore from Rs 750 crore for it.
The VBA chief said, “I have conveyed my reservation to the present plan for the memorial with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. I have also offered to discuss with them my original concept, which was evolved way back in 1998-99 when the NDA government was at the Centre.”
He added then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had given his consent for an Ambedkar International Study Centre, but could never be translated into reality as mainstream political parties, including BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP, were keen on a memorial and a statue.
“What is the purpose of having another statue of Ambedkar in Mumbai? At the most, it will be taller than the ones already existing at Chembur and Vidhan Bhawan. And political parties will just take the credit for the same and use it for their vote bank in successive elections… Let us not reduce the proposed Ambedkar memorial to a picnic spot or tourism centre,” the Dalit leader said while pressing for a world-class study centre.
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