Prakash Ambekar tells Opposition to field tribal candidate

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Ambedkar said he does not believe in caste-based politics else he would have supported Kovind.

Prakash Ambedkar (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav)

Mumbai: BBM leader and grandson of B.R. Ambedkar - Prakash Ambedkar - has asked opposition parties to field a tribal candidate against NDA’s presidential candidate, Ramnath Kovind, for the sake of having a liberal and not right-wing Hindu. Ambedkar said he does not believe in caste-based politics else he would have supported Kovind. Opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Thursday to decide their candidate.

Ambedkar told The Asian Age, “My caste is the same as his (Kovind’s), so I should have supported him if I were indulging in caste politics. But to prevent ‘Hindutvavadi vaidik manuvadi’ forces, we need to consolidate liberal bhakti tradition Hindus here. Tribals have resisted British rule as well as imperial forces in the recent past. Therefore, to recognise their fighting spirit and consolidate all anti-constitutional forces, opposition parties must give a tribal candidate a chance.”

The presidential election has already entered caste equations with BJP leaders frequently mentioning Kovind’s dalit background. Opposition parties are mulling dalit options such as former speaker Meira Kumar and former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde as presidential candidate. Dalit leader Ambedkar has only added to the buzz by suggestion a tribal candidate as option.

Asked why he was pushing for the tribal category, Ambedkar said, “BJP has pushed us to do this. They are using a dalit face to hide their agenda. Kovind is dalit but he represents the ‘Hindutvavaadi vaidik manuvadi’ ideology. We need to defeat him by consolidating all opposite forces. Tribals fought the British rule and are successfully fighting imperialism now. Therefore, fielding a tribal person in this battle would cement all forces that respect the constitution.”