Mumbai: 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 Monday.
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 said.
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 up.
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.