NCP wants Mumbai station named after Ambedkar
Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is
part of Maharashtra's ruling Congress-led coalition, wants the city's
important Dadar railway junction to be renamed 'Chaiya Bhoomi' in
memory of late Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar, a party official said here
The proposal is likely to be taken up as a resolution at the NCP's
convention on Rights of Backward Class People scheduled June 10 as
part of the party's 11th anniversary celebrations here, the official
Chaitya Bhoomi, barely two kilometers from Dadar railway station, is
the place where Ambedkar was cremated Dec 6, 1956.
Later, converted into a national monument, lakhs of Dalits from all
over the country converge to pay homage to Ambedkar, the architect of
India's constitution, on his death anniversary.
Reacting to the NCP's plans, Republican Party of India (RPI) leader
Ramdas Athawale said that his party had made this proposal long ago.
'They have no other issues for the Dalits in Mumbai. They did nothing
nothing for the Dalits for the past 64 years, so now they talk of
renaming Dadar station,' Athawale told reporters.
Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar said that the party would not oppose
the move to rename Dadar as Chaitya Bhoomi if such a proposal comes
The NCP's move is being viewed as an effort to counter the upcoming
alliance of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Republican Party of India
which was announced recently and will be formalized by October.
Shaken by the prospects of losing a large chunk of crucial Dalit votes
during next year's elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
and other major civic bodies, the NCP has now come up with the idea of
renaming Dadar station.
However, on the record, top NCP leaders like Praful Patel have said
that RPI joining the opposition combine would not affect its prospects
in any manner.
In 1996-97, the then ruling Shiv Sena-BJP government had proposed
renaming of Dadar station but did not send a formal proposal to the
central government and the matter was left hanging.
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