Congress misleading on Ambedkar memorial, Thackeray warns Dalits

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 02, 2012 04:51 hrs

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Monday asked Dalits not to get "misled" by the central government's assurance that the Indu Mills land in south-central Mumbai would be allotted for a memorial for B.R. Ambedkar.

In a front-page statement in the party mouthpiece Saamna, party chief Bal Thackeray said it "was just another carrot dangled by the Congress" to secure Dalit votes in the forthcoming municipal elections.

"Our Dalit brothers should not get over-enthusiastic by the Congress's assurance that the centre has agreed 'in principle' to allot the (12.5 acres) Indu Mills land for the memorial," Thackeray said.

He pointed out that the Congress's game lies in the words 'in principle' and it may or may not materialise since it is designed only to capture Dalit votes.

"With elections round the corner, the Congress has started doling out many such assurances as it is desperate for votes," Thackeray said.

Recounting the assurances made by the government in the past few months, the aging leader said mill workers have been promised free homes, slum dweller have been promised regularisation of all slums that came up till 2000, Muslim reservations were announced recently and now the assurance of Indu Mills land.

Thackeray appealed to the Dalits not to get lured by the assurances and ensure the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Republican Party of India alliance is voted to power.

The statement comes in the wake of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi last week on the Indu Mills land, which belongs to the centre.

After the meeting, Chavan announced the prime minister had agreed 'in principle' to give the mill land for the Ambedkar memorial.

The Indu Mill has been in the news since nearly a month after some Dalit activists 'captured' the land and vacated it last week following intervention by state Home Minister R.R. Patil.