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Chaityabhoomi issue: NCP and Congress tussle for credit

In a bid to woo dalit voters, ahead of the crucial local bodies polls next year, the NCP sought to rename Dadar railway station as Chaityabhoomi, since Dr Ambedkar lived there and his final resting place, which is known as Chaityabhoomi, is also in Dadar.

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Chaityabhoomi issue: NCP and Congress tussle for credit
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The demand to change the name of Dadar railway station in suburban Mumbai to Chaityabhoomi and upgrading the memorial of Dr BR Ambedkar, made at NCP's 12th foundation day rally ìn Mumbai, will see a tug of war between NCP and its ally in power, Congress, over claiming the credit.

In a bid to woo dalit voters, ahead of the crucial local bodies polls next year, the NCP sought to rename Dadar railway station as Chaityabhoomi, since Dr Ambedkar lived there and his final resting place, which is known as Chaityabhoomi, is also in Dadar.

Congress was quick to respond that it was the first to make such a demand. Later, the party announced that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking to expedite the proposal to allot the Indu Mill land near Chaityabhoomi for upgrading and modernising the Ambedkar Memorial. It also proposed a Chaityabhoomi Development Authority for the same.

Today at its rally, senior NCP leaders said that 12.5 acres of Indu Mill land should be handed over for the Chaityabhoomi upgradation work.

PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, while speaking at the rally said, the demand was first made by NCP's Vijay Kamble some years ago.

"Let's not fight over claiming the credit. Let's also ensure that we implement what we have resolved. Whether it is us or them, who did it first, is irrelevant," he said and wondered by a controversy erupts when something has to be named after Dr Ambedkar.

Reacting to NCP's demands, MPCC general secretary Sanjay Dutt said the Congress had already been taking initiatives and the chief minister will soon lead a delegation to meet the prime minister to urge him to expedite the decision on Indu Mill land, to facilitate a befitting Ambedkar memorial.

He said that his party would also speed up the follow-up with the government on the Chaityabhoomi renaming issue.

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