Hyderabad: Dalit outfits target BJP for not backing resolution to name new Parliament after Ambedkar

Lone BJP MLA walked out when Telangana Assembly unanimously urged Centre to name new structure after Ambedkar.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Sep 14, 2022 | 7:17 PMUpdatedSep 14, 2022 | 7:17 PM

The new Parliament building will be inaugurated by PM Modi on 28 May. (Creative Commons)

Several Dalit groups staged protests against the BJP on Wednesday, 14 September, for its refusal to back the Telangana Assembly’s unanimous resolution urging the NDA-led Union government to name the new Parliament building in New Delhi after Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution.

The protestors, who gathered at Kukatpally in Hyderabad, alleged that BJP’s Dubbak MLA M Raghunandan Rao did not take a positive stand on the resolution, moved in the House on Tuesday, on the directions of state BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar.

While Congress and AIMIM legislators backed the resolution, Rao, the lone BJP MLA in the state Assembly at the time, walked out.

The BJP has three MLAs in the House of 119. One of them, Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh is currently in jail for hate speech, while the other, Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajendra, had been suspended from the House earlier in the day for insulting the Speaker and refusing to apologise.

Protests in Rao’s constituency

Rao also faced the ire of the Dalit organisations in his Assembly constituency, where they gathered and chanted slogans against him and also burnt his effigy.

Dalit leaders said that they plan to organise similar protests in all the villages of Rao’s Assembly constituency, Dubbak.

Protestors chanted slogans of “Jai Bhim” and demanded that the new Parliament be named after Ambedkar.

“Ambedkar is the author of the Constitution, and Parliament is the place where what the Constitution says is practiced. So, without any doubt, it should be named after Babasaheb,” P Shankar, national secretary of Secunderabad-based Dalit Bahujan Front, told South First.

Telangana Assembly’s unanimous resolution

On 13 September, Telangana Urban Affairs and IT Minister KT Rama Rao had moved the resolution and said it was because of Ambedkar that India was a democratic republic.

“There can’t be an any better tribute to him than naming the new Parliament building complex after him,” he said.

The TRS leader added that Ambedkar was a firm believer in equality and fought against all kinds of discrimination and he symbolised social justice, the greatness of democracy, and national integration.

“It was because of him that the formation of Telangana state became a reality, as Article 3 in the Constitution envisaged the formation of new states,” he pointed out.

KTR also recollected two statements of Ambedkar where he said he would be the first person to burn the Constitution if it was misused, and that the tyranny of the majority should not be allowed.

The Assembly then passed the resolution with the support of the Congress, and AIMIM.

Bandi Sanjay to the rescue

Sensing the mood in the Dalit community, BJP state unit chief Bandi Sanjay said he had brought the matter to the notice of the BJP-led Narendra Modi government.

“Brought to the notice of Central Govt to look into the matter of naming the New Parliament building #CentralVista after Babasaheb Ambedkar. Based on representation given by Praja Gayakudu Gaddar urging to name new Parliament building after Ambedkar, the the the the the request was forwarded to Center,” he posted in a tweet.

In response, however, TRS spokesperson Krishank Manne demanded Sanjay show the copy of the letter he wrote to the Union government.

“It’s not enough to tweet, Bandi. Why did the BJP MLA not speak on the resolution in the Assembly? If Bandi Sanjay is so concerned about Dalits why did he not tweet yesterday. We demand that he should disclose his letter to the Centre in public,” he told South First, adding that Bandi’s tweet came only after he heard that the Dalits were gathering for protest march.

Parliament: Naming row

With a seating capacity of 1,224, the new Parliament building is a four-storey structure and is expected to have cost ₹970 crore when it is finally completed.

It would replace the existing British-built structure, which completed 100 years in 2021. But before its completion, the debate on its name has hit a peak.

In May this year, the Delhi unit of Congress and the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM), headquartered in New Delhi, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting names for the new Parliament.

The Delhi Congress in its appeal said that the new structure should be named after former President APJ Abdul Kalam as it would send a nationwide message of harmony and cohesion.

On the contrary, ABKM requested the government  that the new building be either named after Delhi’s last Hindu emperor, Prithviraj Chauhan, or the founder of the city, Anangpal Tomar.

“Delhi has a history that goes back thousands of years and a structure which defines the integrity of the nation should signify its long history,” ABKM said.