The former President was speaking at the launch of a book— ‘Ambedkar and Modi: Reformer’s Ideas, Performer’s Implementation’—in the presence of former CJI KG Balakrishnan, information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur and his deputy L Murugan.
“Babasaheb, as the chairman of the drafting committee of the constituent assembly, had rejected a proposal to grant special status to Jammu & Kashmir. Later, after a complicated turn of events, Jammu & Kashmir was granted a special status, which was against the wishes of Babasaheb,” Kovind said.
He referred to the Modi government’s August 2019 decision to withdraw special status to J&K, he said, “This order fulfils the ideals of Babasaheb. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sign this order as the President of India,” Kovind said.
Kovind, whose presidential term ended in August, said Ambedkar was opposed to identities being linked to religion, caste or sect.
“Babasaheb insisted that we should say we are Indians first, Indians later and Indians till the end…Narendra Modi also speaks of ‘India First’. Modi is vindicating the vision of Babasaheb…The book is a testimony to the fact that Modi is a true follower of Ambedkar,” he said. Earlier, justice Balakrishnan inaugurated a three-day digital interactive multi-media exhibition on the life, teachings and contributions of Ambedkar.
Anurag Thakur also said PM Modi did in 8 years what previous governments could not deliver in 60 years, and turned Ambedkar’s dreams into reality through reforms in diverse areas and his commitment to the poor and marginalised. “When Modi became PM in 2014, he said his government will work on the principle of “Antyodaya”, which is no different from the ideals of Ambedkar. From ‘Make in India’ to ‘Production-Linked Incentive’ schemes, efforts have been focused on realising Ambedkar’s dream of a self-reliant, modern India,” Thakur said.
Recalling Ambedkar’s mantra of ‘Bahujan Hitay, Bahujan Sukhay’as the cornerstone of PM Modi’s development model, he also listed the reforms in the education sector with primacy being given to teaching in mother tongue, drastic improvements in basic infrastructure such as last mile delivery of bank accounts, gas and electricity connections, and a provision of collateral-free loans for the SC and ST communities.