New Delhi: Apparently seeking to appropriate the legacy of B R Ambedkar, Congress today announced year-long celebrations from April 14 to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the architect of the Constitution.
The move, seen as a bid to win back Dalits, whose desertion in a major way has hit hard the Congress, was announced by party's communication department chief Randeep Surjewala and K Raju, chairman of the AICC's Scheduled Castes department.
A committee with party chief Sonia Gandhi as Chairperson and Rahul Gandhi as Co-chairperson has been formed with former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde being made the Vice- chairperson. Raju said the celebrations will be launched at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, the birthplace of Ambedkar on April 14 while it will conclude at a function in Nagpur on his birth anniversary next year.
B R Ambedkar Award for contribution towards social change will be conferred at the concluding ceremony on an individual or institution that has contributed to promotion of social equity. A national meet of Congress leaders will be organised in Mumbai to discuss further measures to empower and address social discrimination faced by marginalised sections.
The emergence of BSP in Uttar Pradesh as also the churn in the wake of the Mandal Commission report in the north led to the Congress sharply losing the support base among Dalits in the region in the past 25 years.