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CONGRESS-NCP TUSSLE OVER DALIT VOTE

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
By Neel Shah

Today, NCP to protest and forcefully take possession of promised mill land

Angry with the Congress party for making a mockery of Dalit sentiments, state Vice President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Vijay Kamble is all
set to protest the non-allotment of InduMill land at Dadar and for upgrading the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkarmemorial. Moreover, if possible, the possession of the said
land would be forcefully obtained. “We haveshown enough patience and have noticed that Congress politicians are trying to divert the issue. This plan of Congress leaders would perhaps not work anymore and, if need arises, we would forcefully take possession of the mill land,” threatened Kamble.

When the ADC questioned Kamble why the sudden need to hold the protest arose, the latter replied, “It was the statement of Social Welfare Minister Shivajirao Moghe, made a couple of days ago in the ongoing monsoon session.” According to Kamble, “Moghe had said that the Central government has not sanctioned any additional land for the development of a national monument at Chaityabhoomi.”

Kamble explained, “This statement was contrary to that of CM Prithviraj Chavan, who had assured of leading a delegation to meet the PM, urging him to expedite the decision on Indu Mill land to facilitate a befitting Dr. Ambedkar memorial.”

Experts fathom the whole drama is a tug of war between the NCP and its ally in power, Congress, to woo Dalit voters, ahead of the crucial local body polls.
The government had earlier promised to acquire four acres of the 12.5-acre of Indu Mill land for expansion of the existing memorial at Chaityabhoomi. However, the NCP, on its foundation day in July, put forth its intention of acquiring the entire mill land along with a proposal to change the name of Dadar railway station to Chaityabhoomi. At the time of going to press, Moghe did not answer calls made by the ADC nor replied to our SMS.

It was an NCP proposal

The proposal of upgrading and modernising the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial was the brainchild of Kamble. It was in the year 2000 that Kamble, former President of Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA), had come up with a proper plan including a blueprint for the same.

The protest will be held today, in which thousands of Dr.Ambedkar’s followers from all over Maharashtra are expected to participate. The agitation will begin at around 10.30 am from Chaityabhoomi, from where the protesters will walk to the Indu Mill land. “In this protest, a board would be displayed claiming ownership of the land, which is reserved for a national monument of Dr. Ambedkar,” said a source from the NCP.

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