Central govt likely to announce Ambedkar birth anniversary as public holiday

New Delhi: Narendra Modi-led central government is considering announcing holiday on the birth anniversary of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s that falls on April 14 (Tuesday).

Bharat Rattan Babasaheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar
Bharat Rattan Babasaheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar

Dr Ambedkar, the man who framed India’s constitution. A lawyer, he also served as the country’s first law minister after independence.

Dr Ambedkar is remembered most for fighting to improve the social position of the Dalits, a group traditionally considered untouchable in our caste system. He became an icon for the Dalit community.

The BJP is vying to woo the Dalit vote bank by declaring public holiday on Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, to counter the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, who has earlier ruled the state on the strength of her Dalit support base.

The BJP will also take out yatras in Uttar Pradesh on 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

The fact that assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are a due in early 2017, the BJP has started making a bid for dalit votes.

As per the existing policy, the Central government offices observe 16 holidays in a year. These include 3 national holidays, namely the Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and remaining 13 holidays relate to religious and social occasions.

Dr Ambedkar’s birthday is not one of the regular holidays observed every year. As a policy also, birthday of no national leader, except that of Mahatma Gandhi, is being observed as a regular closed holiday.

Accordingly, Dr Ambedkar’s birthday is not a compulsory holiday for central government employees. Every year, the Central government takes a call on whether or not to declare an off for its offices across the country.

However, since 1990, the Central government may declare as a closed holiday of a prominent leader’s birthday without being listed as a holiday for all Central government offices.

The BJP is determined to consolidate the base among dalits, which had built in the last general elections and will be declaring the Ambedkar Jayanti as public holiday. The holiday declaration is likely to be made on Monday.