In an apparent attempt to woo Dalits, ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced that he would build a grand memorial in the name of Dalit icon Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
The foundation stone for the Bharat Ratna Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural Centre, to be located in Lucknow’s Aishbagh, is likely to be laid by President Ram Nath Kovind during his Lucknow visit on June 28.
The project is expected to cost around Rs 50 crore and sources indicated that a portion of the centre, which would include a 45m high statue will be completed by the first week of December so that it can be inaugurated on Ambedkar’s death anniversary on December 6.
Lucknow already has multiple memorials dedicated to the memory of Ambedkar and his wife Ramabai. All of them were constructed in Lucknow and Noida during the various regimes of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the state.
According to Yogi Adityanath, the proposed Ambedkar memorial would serve as a centre for cultural and educational events.
“This will be a grand building, housing a statue of Ambedkar, library, museum and auditorium. As per current plans, the statue will be 25 feet high, placed on a pedestal 20 feet high. Cultural activities will be organised there through the year, including seminars, plays, etc. Students can also visit it for research purposes,” said a government official.
The library will have a vast stock of digitalised literature, including books on Ambedkar and his own writings.
Officials said that soil testing at the proposed site has already begun.
“We hope to complete part of the project by December 6 so that it can be inaugurated on Ambedkar’s death anniversary,” an official said.