Ambedkar would have critiqued inheritance of leadership: Shashi Tharoor

As somebody who was “never convinced by the logic of the caste system”, B R Ambedkar “would not have accepted the inheritance principle anyway,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said at the launch of his book, Ambedkar: A Life, at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here on Thursday evening.

Asked whether political parties are concentrating power in the hands of respective first families, Tharoor, who is contesting the election for Congress president, against senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, said, “I could tell you that though he (Ambedkar) has not written about it, it’s a fairly safe assumption that he would have disapproved; in fact, he would have been quite critical of the idea that political leadership goes through inheritance, rather than through election, or other form of merit.”

However, he added, “this is surmise”, as Ambedkar had not written about this particular aspect.

Addressing the media earlier in the day, Tharoor had alleged that there was an “uneven playing field” in the party president’s election, and that several state Congress chiefs and senior leaders were not available for a meeting with him during his visits to their states, even as they had spared time to meet Kharge.

Ambedkar: A Life (Aleph Book Company; Rs 599) also highlights the leader’s disputes with Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.

The launch event saw a panel discussion on “Ambedkar, Constitutional Morality and Casteism”, with participants including Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nandy, retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur, and economist and former Rajya Sabha MP Bhalchandra Mungekar.

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