Mumbai | Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former close aide of BJP veteran L K Advani, stirred a controversy on Saturday with an article asserting that India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru contributed more than B R Ambedkar in the framing of the Constitution.
The article, put out by a news outlet, was also shared by Indian Overseas Congress head Sam Pitroda in a now-deleted post on X, sparking strong reactions from the BJP which called it "demeaning" and an insult to Dalits and Ambedkar.
BJP leaders, including Union ministers, alleged that the Congress’ "hate" for Dalits and Ambedkar is not new and the opposition party is still trying to "erase his legacy" by "endorsing" the article.
Union Minister for Law and Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal said Pitroda has claimed that it was Nehru who contributed more to the making of the Constitution than Ambedkar.
“We vehemently condemn it and ask the Congress if it stands by his remarks,” Meghwal said.
"The entire world believes that BR Ambedkar had played the main role in the making of the Constitution and Pitroda’s remarks on his contributions are a reflection of the Congress’ mindset of insulting Baba Saheb,” he added.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged the Congress is "anti-Ambedkar and anti-Dalit. The proof of the Congress’ anti-Dalit thoughts has once again come out in the open”.
Poonawalla dubbed Pitroda’s remarks as a "lie” and asked Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge if his party leader “actually” expressed the ‘Mann ki baat’ of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP spokesperson claimed that Dalits and tribals faced a lot of atrocities during the Congress rule and asked Kharge, “How much more the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be insulted”.
"...Rahul Gandhi's close aide and mentor Sam Pitroda insults Baba Saheb Ambedkar, undermines his contribution to framing India's Constitution, and like all things Congress, gives credit to Nehru," BJP's IT department head Amit Malviya said on X.
He further added, "Congress's hate for Dalits and Dr. Ambedkar... is not new. The Congress sought to erase his legacy then and is doing it even now."
Malviya also targeted Kulkarni, sharing a picture of him with Rahul Gandhi during a political yatra, insinuating a connection between Kulkarni's views and the Congress party.
Despite the backlash, Kulkarni stood by his claims, emphasising that Nehru's role in shaping the Constitution was greater than Ambedkar's and cited research to support his argument.
He asserted that Ambedkar played no significant part in drafting the Constitution's Preamble, which was based on the objectives resolution presented by Nehru in the Constituent Assembly.
Referring to historical evidence and Ambedkar's statements, Kulkarni highlighted Ambedkar's disavowal of his role as the chief architect of the Constitution.
In a post also, he said, "Who Contributed More to the Constitution and Its Preamble? Nehru, NOT Ambedkar.
"'Babasaheb ka diya hua Samvidhan — Dr Ambedkar is the Father of the Indian Constitution' is the biggest falsification of our country’s modern history," he said.
Speaking to PTI, he later said, "It is generally believed that Dr B R Ambedkar was the father of the Indian Constitution. But, this is far from the truth if you examine the facts of history.
"Now a study has shown that the contribution of our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was far greater than Dr Ambedkar. In fact, Ambedkar has himself said that it was not his Constitution."
He referred to Ambedkar's speeches in Rajya Sabha and before the Poona District Law Library, where Ambedkar expressed his willingness to abolish or re-draft the Constitution, disassociating himself from its authorship.
The controversy has also reignited the debate about the roles of Nehru and Ambedkar in India's constitutional history.