New Delhi, June 30: As BJP seeks to lay claim to B R Ambedkar's legacy, party MP Tarun Vijay has demanded 'Bharat Ratna' for Jagjivan Ram, another towering dalit leader, contending he "rightly deserves" the country's highest civilian award.
In an article in pro-RSS journal 'Panchjanya', Vijay said Babu Jagjivan Ram should be given the award in recognition of his services for social harmony, fight against injustice to the scheduled castes and serving the cause of Hindu religion.
"It is surprising that Congress never considered Ambedkar, who stood as an iron pillar for nationalism and public welfare, worthy of 'Bharat Ratna' and neither did Jagjivan Ram get that honour he rightly deserved. "Would this (Modi) government consider giving 'Bharat Ratna' to this great, pious nationalist and a courageous democrat. He rightly deserves this honour," he said in the article.
Vijay asked, "Was his fight for equality while remaining a Hindu his fault?" He said, "If Babu Jagjivan Ram had left Hinduism as a mark of protest against atrocities by upper castes, it would have triggered a social earthquake in India."
"He never converted and served Hindu dharma, faced extreme caste hate, insult and disdain, yet remained firm. Should his firmness to remain a Hindu be considered a weakness or strength?" he said.
Vijay said the dalit leader fought social discrimination and rose in stature through sheer merit, supporting the mass movement against Emergency, leaving Congress and launching an outfit 'Congress for Democracy'.
Tarun Vijay, who is retiring as a Rajya Sabha member on July 4, was in news recently after he was attacked in Uttarakhand while leading a group of dalits into a temple where their entry was banned.