Skip to main content

Dalits alone should elect their candidates: Ahead of Gujarat polls, Dalit rights leader revives Ambedkar's demand

Martin Macwan
By Our Representative
Taking its campaign to a new level, the Abhadcched Mukt Bharat Andolan (Untouchability Free India Movement): Mission 2047, launched by well-known Dalit rights activist Martin Macwan, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept the demand put forwand by Dr BR Ambedkar, made exactly 85 years ago, to provide separate electorate for Dalits.
Separate electorate, as demanded by Dr Ambedkar in early 1930s from the British rulers, was meant to allow Dalits (Ambedkar called them depressed classes) to choose their own elected representatives, with Dalits having two votes -- one for the general candidate and another for the Dalit candidate. Ambedkar beleived this was necessary to remove the scourge of untouchability from India.
Addressing a well-attended Dalit rally in Modi's hometown Vadnagar in the symbolic presence Dr Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar, Macwan recalled that Dr Ambedkar was "pressured" to give up his demand before Mahatma Gandhi on September 24, 1932, who had sat on fast unto death.
"Called Poona Pact, an agreement was reached between Gandhiji and Ambedkar, under which Gandhiji, as representative of the dominant caste Hindus, assured Ambedkar, as representative of depressed classes, that caste Hindus under him take full responsibility for the abolition of untouchabily from India", said Macwan.
However, Macwan regretted, "Even 70 years after independence and 85 years after the Poona Pact, untouchability has remained intact, and successive governments of India have failed to abolish it despite the existence of stringent laws. Hence the demand to revert back to the demand put forward by Ambedkar to provide separate electorate for Dalits."
Prakash Ambedkar
Macwan said, "Under the Poona agreement, while Ambedkar gave up his demand for providing separate electorate as he wanted to save the life of Gandhiji, who had gone on fast, an agreement was also reached to provide reservation to the depressed class -- Dalit and Adivasi -- candidates. We strongly feel that the electoral reservation system has failed to end untouchability."
The demand from Macwan, who is founder of Gujarat's largest Dalit rights organization, Navsarjan, comes following another campaign launched by him under the banner of the Dr Ambedkar Vechan Pratibandh Samiti, or Stop Selling Dr Ambedkar Committee, representing before elected Dalit representatives of Gujarat, MLAs and MPs of both the BJP and the Congress, to explain what they had done to end untouchability in their constituencies.
Preceded by a well-attended rally, during one such representation, BJP MP Shambhunath Tundiya, who heads the powerful Dalit religious seat (gadi) at Zanzarka, towards the south of Ahmedabad, was asked as to why did he not condemn anti-Dalit slogans at Saharanpur in UP, where Dalit houses were ransacked, or has stopped uttering a word against the cow vigilantes, who had attacked Dalits at Una in Gujarat and elsewhere.
The Dalit rally at Vadnagar, situated in North Gujarat, will be followed by similar such rallies in at Shiyali village in Limdi taluka of Surendranagar district on September 25 and Dholka on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Ambedkar, supporting the demand of separate electorate for Dalits, said that it was needed because MLAs and MPs of reserved constituencies are elected by all voters together (Dalits plus non-Dalits), pointing out, the number of voters who are against freedom of Dalits outnumber Dalit voters in reserved constituencies.
The result, he opined, is that the people who are thus elected work not for Dalits, but for people who elected them, i.e. people opposed to the freedom and development of the Dalits,adding, this is a major reason why the fight against untouchability on the part of the elected Dalit representatives fails to acquire strength.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.