Senior JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak has taken strong exception to Yogi Adityanath government’s introduction of ‘Ramji’ as the middle name of BR Ambedkar in all official references to him.

Rajak said the exercise smacked of “mischief”.

Rajak is a prominent Dalit leader of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which is a constituent of the NDA and is running a coalition government with the BJP in Bihar.

Rajak, who is the ruling party’s deputy leader in the state Assembly, alleged that circular issued by the UP government to this effect was an attempt to “impose the agenda of Manuvad” and “divert the attention of the Dalits from the infringement of their rights which is taking place in a number of ways”.

“It looks like another attempt to impose the agenda of Manuvad. Those interested in maintaining upper caste hegemony have been known to be very fond of conducting ‘shuddhikaran’ (purification), whereby they actually humiliate Dalits while claiming to be charitable,” he said, adding the way Ambedkar’s name will now he written, is very much on the same lines.

“It is true that the name of Babasaheb’s father was Ramji and as per the tradition in Maharashtra, he included the same while putting his signature. But then, it is also a fact that Ambedkar was not his family name and it was given to him by his teacher. His family name was Sakpal,” he said.

On Thursday, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to add ‘Ramji’ to the name of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the architect of Indian constitution.

Acting on the recommendations of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, the state government has decided to introduce ‘Ramji’ as the middle name of Ambedkar, officials said.

All official correspondence of the state government will now refer to Ambedkar with the new name, added the officials.

According to reports, Naik had in December 2017 written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath to change Ambedkar’s name.

Interestingly, the move comes days ahead of Ambedkar Jayanti, celebrated across the nation on April 14.

Bhimrao Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer.

He had inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination against “untouchables”.

To commemorate the memory of the reformer and his contributions, Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti is celebrated every year on April 14.

(With agency inputs)