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Sangh parivar testing waters before UP polls: Prakash Ambedkar

Mumbai: Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar today described the senior RSS functionary Manmohan Vaidya’s statement on reservations as a move to test the waters ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Vaidya had said at the Jaipur Literature Festival yesterday that even Dr B R Ambedkar, architect of the Constitution, was not in favour of perpetual continuance of reservations, and the reservations policy should be reviewed.

However, moments after Vaidya’s remarks kicked up a row, the Sangh clarified that reservation as provided by the Constitution should continue and there should be no unnecessary controversy.

“As long as there is discrimination on the basis of birth, gender or any other social factor, the reservation as provided by the Constitution shall continue and RSS fully supports it,” DattatreyaHosabale, Joint General Secretary of the RSS, said.

Speaking to PTI, Prakash Ambedkar, Dr B R Ambedkar’s grandson, said UP being the largest state in terms of population and sends the highest number of MPs, Vaidya’s statement was a sort of “kite-flying” to gauge people’s inclination on the issue, as BJP still has two years in hand (before the Lok Sabha polls) to contain the political damage, if any.

“The only reason behind revisiting the reservations issue is to test the inclination of people in a poll-bound state like Uttar Pradesh,” Ambedkar said.

“When RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made a similar remark before Bihar elections, BJP only lost five per cent votes. The party lost the election because of consolidation of votes of RJD and JDU. It (Vaidya’s statement) is an attempt of social galvanisation by the Sangh parivar,” he said.

“I am not going to condemn (the statement) and keep quiet. I am going to ask all the Dalit people or those who enjoy the benefits of reservation whether they still want to remain with BJP. The voters should send a message to BJP,” Ambedkar said.

Holding that no party can form the next government in UP single-handed, he said BSP has upper hand but BJP and SP too are strong, and Congress and SP can jointly win more seats.

“BJP has certainly gained some ground in UP and it will be interesting to see how the party performs after the reservations comment,” Ambedkar quipped.