Modi pays tributes to Ambedkar as BJP reaches out to Dalits
Taking forward the BJP's aggressive dalit outreach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flew into Nagpur to pay homage to Bhimrao Ambedkar at 'Deekshabhoomi' where the architect of the Indian Constitution had embraced Bhuddhism 61 years ago.
Modi, who has often profoundly praised Ambedkar for his struggle, and claimed the previous Congress governments failed to give the dalit icon his due for his contributions to nation building, paid floral tributes to him at Deekshabhoomi to mark his 126th birth anniversary.
It was at Deekshabhoomi in 1956 that Ambedkar had led his followers in converting to Buddhism against the oppressive and discriminatory caste system in the Hindu society.
Modi stood at the place, which has become a shrine for dalits and neo-Buddhists, with folded hands for a few minutes in prayer.
The Prime Minister's visit to Nagpur is being seen as an extension of his and BJP's efforts to reach out to dalits, a move which helped the party shore up its performance by leaps and bounds in the key cow belt state of Uttar Pradesh where it formed its government after a hiatus of 15 years.
Ahead of his visit, Modi tweeted on Thursday that he was "extremely honoured" to be visiting Nagpur on the "very special occasion" of Ambedkar Jayanti. In Nagpur, the seat of the RSS, BJP's ideological mentor, Modi inaugurated a raft of development projects, including an IIIT, IIM and AIIMS.