OBC leaders including Bhujbal had opposed Mandal Commission's suggestions: Prakash Ambedkar

OBC leaders including Bhujbal had opposed Mandal Commission's suggestions: Prakash Ambedkar

Mumbai, Nov 25 (PTI) Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar on Saturday alleged OBC leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal had sided with 'kamandal' during the Mandal Commission movement and opposed its recommendations.

Addressing the Samvidhan Samman rally here, Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar, said people started viewing reservation as the only solution because of the non-developmental policies of erstwhile governments.

'Current OBC leaders like Bhujbal or Prakash Shendge should not cross my path. You were with Kamandal (a term used for Hindutva politics of the 1990s) opposing the ongoing demand for implementing the recommendations of the Mandal Commission,” he said.

'Kamandal' refers to Hindutva politics that emerged during the same timespan of Mandal politics in 1980s.

Ambedkar's comments came against the backdrop of the protests by the Maratha community led by activist Manoj Jarange seeking reservation in government jobs and education under the Other Backward Class (OBC) grouping, a demand opposed by OBC leaders, including senior NCP leader and cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal among others. The VBA leader asked Jarange to be cautious while making statements and referred to a controversial remark made by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi during the campaign for Gujarat assembly elections (in 2007) in the aftermath of communal riots. “I have some advice for Manoj Jarange. Some comments made by him recently could potentially spoil the momentum he has gathered so far. Do not listen to any advisers,” Ambedkar added.

Jarange recently said that Marathas had to work under undeserving people.

Citing a report, Ambedkar said that nearly 20 lakh students go abroad for education every year.

'Assuming that a student needs Rs 40 lakh, imagine how much money goes out. If we create enough educational institutes here, students will benefit and many more people will get jobs in those institutes,' he said.

Ambedkar also blamed owners of educational institutes, saying, “Even though some of them are OBCs or Marathas, they are to be blamed. They wanted to protect their educational institutes rather than help the students.” Speaking at the same rally, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole alleged the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wants to change the Constitution and it should be taught a lesson.

Patole said the Congress would support people who want to change the Constitution and alleged the BJP government's strategy is similar to the divide-and-rule policy of the British Raj.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed Dr Ambedkar's economic policies. Ambedkar's policies were about collecting money from the rich through taxes and utilizing it for the poor. The Modi government is doing the opposite. That's why I had resigned as BJP MP and joined the Congress,” he said.

Patole had won the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra in the 2014 elections by defeating Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel. Patole resigned from BJP in 2017. PTI ND NSK

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