- Dr BR Ambdekar was conferred Bharat Ratna "not by heart": AIMIM chief
- Last year, Mr Owaisi had forged an alliance with Dr Ambedkar's grandson
- BR Ambdekar was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna in 1990
Dr BR Ambdekar was conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, out of compulsion and not by heart, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said on Sunday.
"Tell me, out of the total Bharat Ratna awards given, how many were Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim, poor, upper caste and Brahmin? Babasaheb (Ambedkar) was given Bharat Ratna, but out of compulsion and not by heart," Mr Owaisi said at an event in Maharashtra's Kalyan on Sunday.
Last September, Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) forged an alliance with Dr Ambedkar's grandson for the upcoming national elections and the Maharashtra assembly elections later this year. Prakash Ambedkar is the head of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh.
Mr Owaisi made the comments two days after the government awarded the Bharat Ratna to former President Pranab Mukherjee and several others. Social activist and one of the BJP's senior-most leaders Nanji Deshmukh and music maestro from Assam, Bhupen Hazarika, have been awarded posthumously.
Asaduddin Owaisi at an event in Maharashtra y'day: Mujhe yeh batao ki jitne Bharat Ratna ke award diye gaye usmein se kitne dalit, adivasi, musalmanon, garibon, upper caste aur Brahminon ko diye gaye? Babasaheb ko Bharat Ratna diya par dil se nahi diya majboori ki halat mein diya pic.twitter.com/8P0V0Ncr3H— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2019
BR Ambdekar was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna in 1990. He died on December 6, 1956.
Reacting to Mr Owaisi's remarks, Dalit powerhouse Mayawati's party demanded a Bharat Ratna for its founder Kanshi Ram. "Everybody knows that when VP Singh was the Prime Minister at that time. Mayawati and Kanshi Ram pressurised them to give Bharat Ratna to Bala Saheb BR Ambedkar. We demanded that Kanshi Ram should also get one and if that will be given it will be a welcomed decision," Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Sudhindra Bhadoria said.
"It is very wrong to talk like this about the Bharat Ratna and bring religion and caste into this," Congress leader Meem Afzal said.
(With inputs from ANI)