New Delhi: At a time when there is controversy around caste-based reservations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday staked his government’s claim to the legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Modi said the house in which Ambedkar stayed in London was now the property of India. Converted into a memorial to the late Dalit campaigner, it will be inaugurated during his upcoming visit to Britain, he said.

“The house of BR Ambedkar will be an inspiration to people, especially Dalits, financially weak and downtrodden. The house represents the fact that if there is will-power then people can overcome difficulties, and get educated. The government also gives scholarships to Dalit students who go abroad for education. The house will be an inspiration for students coming to Britain," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 13th Mann Ki Baat programme.

Senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have clarified that the party is in favour of caste-based reservations and that there will be no attempt to stop it, after the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, last month called for setting up a committee to review the caste system.

In his remarks on Sunday, made in his monthly radio address, Modi also spoke about the preparations for Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary celebrations on 31 October, saying Patel had worked for the unity of the country.

“India is a diverse country. People of different castes, religion, different languages, different cultures and this diversity is the strength of our country. We are proud of the diversity of the country. The message is unity in diversity. Peace, harmony and unity are the sources of development. Last year a run for unity (was) organised on 31 October; I had participated in it the last time. It is a run for development," Modi said.

Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are annoyed by the some BJP Members of Parliament who made inflammatory remarks after a 50-year-old Muslim man Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched by a Hindu mob in Dadri village in Uttar Pradesh on 28 September.

During the 90th foundation day ceremony of the RSS on Dussehra, the group’s chief Mohan Bhagwat also emphasized the need for social harmony and that social tensions can only be overcome through dialogue with all stakeholders, including the political opposition. Bhagwat said in his speech that the key to social transformation was a revamp of the education system.

Last month, Bhagwat caused a political controversy after the pro-RSS Organiser magazine quoted him as saying in an interview, “We believe, form a committee of people genuinely concerned for the interest of the whole nation and committed for social equality, including some representatives from the society, they should decide which categories require reservation and for how long."

Following his statement, the BJP said it “very firmly supports the constitutional reservation for the SC, ST, OBC (scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes), Backwards and Extremely Backwards classes."

Close