UP Govt to Change Ambedkar’s Name to Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
The Uttar Pradesh government has passed an order to officially change the name of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar in all official documents to Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, on the recommendations of governor Ram Naik.
Ramji was Ambedkar’s father’s name.
The order was passed on Wednesday, 28 February, following which all departments and high court benches in Lucknow and Allahabad are to address him as 'Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar', as signed by him on the pages of the Constitution, according to The Times of India (TOI).
UP Governor Ram Naik, who reportedly initiated the move in 2017 by writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that Hindi-speaking states have been writing his name incorrectly.
Dr Lalji Prasad Nirmal, director of Babasahib Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha, told TOI that using father’s name as a middle name is a common practice across Maharashtra.
“Ramji was his father's name. As per common practice in Maharashtra, father's name is used as a middle name for sons," he said.
Politicians React to The Move
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Udit Raj reacted strongly to the move, saying that it is an individual choice how a person wants to be known and that the Dalit comunity is unhappy with it.
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Deepak Mishra said that the move by the Yogi government is aimed at changing the perception of the party being anti-Ambedkar. Calling it vote bank politics, he said that the BJP does not care about Ambedkar or his ideology.
The decision did not go down well with the Opposition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with a fuming Samajwadi Party seeing vote-bank politics behind the move.
"The BJP government is playing politics with the name of the Dalit icon," SP leader Anurag Bhadoria said, hours after the state government issued the order.
He charged the state government with politicising Ambedkar's name to attract Dalit votes.
In Mainpuri, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said instead of altering Ambedkar's name, it is important that the path he showed is followed.
"I will say that it is also essential that the chief minister reads the Preamble of the Constitution... If he does so, the anger that was shown in the UP Legislative Council over his remarks against socialism will not be seen... The Constitution and its basis is around socialism," he said, referring to Adityanath's speech in the Vidhan Parishad on Wednesday.
"If someone says 'sabka saath sabka vikas' it can also be considered as the definition of socialism by some people," he stressed.
Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson and cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh, said the BJP has only seen to it that the name of Baba Saheb is written correctly.
"In Maharashtra, a father's name is mentioned in the middle of his son's name. But, if they (Opposition) sees Ayodhya in it, this shows how hollow they are and how low they have stooped to that they connect everything with it (Ram and Ayodhya)," he added.
As soon as the news broke, Twitter was full of reactions. Some clarified that the ‘R’ in BR Ambedkar stands for ‘Ramji’ and not ‘Rao’