Maharashtra govt's 2019 calendar skips death anniversaries of Ambedkar, Phule
A Maharashtra government calendar for the year 2019 has skipped the mention of death anniversaries of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar and 19th century social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. The development Saturday prompted the NCP to seek an apology from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis while the Congress asked him to own "moral responsibility" for the "glaring mistakes" . The calender, published by the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR), has no mention of the death anniversaries of Phule and Ambedkar, which fall on November 28 and December 6 respectively. Meanwhile, a DGIPR statement Saturday said that, as per a decision taken in 2013, only birth anniversaries are celebrated at the government level, and hence, only birth anniversaries are mentioned in the government calender and not death anniversaries.
It added that, earlier, birth anniversaries of national icons were mentioned in the calender only in case it was a public holiday. Later, the statement informed, a mention of all birth anniversaries celebrated at the government level was made in the calender. The calender has mention of birth anniversaries of Mahatma Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar, it pointed out. Meanwhile, state unit NCP president Jayant Patil claimed even the dates of Mahavir Jayanti and Buddha Purnima are mentioned incorrectly in the calender. "The government wants to win elections using names of great icons and (at the same time) wants to ensure that they get wiped out of public memory," he alleged.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) wondered if the oversight was deliberate. Munde said he had sent a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis condemning the mistakes in the calender. He also called for fixing responsibility and demanded the CM's apology. Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of Congress said the BJP-led government uses the names of great icons only for political reasons. "This year, the calender has no mention that December 6 and November 28 are the death anniversaries of Ambedkar and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, respectively," Vikhe Patil said, adding that the mistakes are glaring. "Has the government forgotten the heroes and are they being remembered only for political purpose?" Vikhe Patil asked.
(With inputs from agencies.)