(EDs: Updating with SP chief unveiling Ambedkar statue) Lucknow, Apr 14 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today paid floral tributes to BR Ambedkar here on his 127 th birth anniversary, but the highlight of the day was unveiling of the Dalit icon’s statue at the SP office, reflecting the new found love with arch rival BSP.

SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav unveiled Ambedkar’s statue at Lohia auditorium next to the statues of Ram Manohar Lohia, Jai Prakash Narayan and other socialist leaders.

“We cannot forget the contributions of Dr Ambedkar, who united people of all caste. He wrote the Constitution and on his anniversary we take pledge to follow path of secularism.

Some people have either not studied the Constitution or are ignoring it…,” Yadav said.

After its new found bonhomie with the BSP won it two Lok Sabha seats in recent bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party took their friendship a step forward by installing Amebdkar’s statue in the party office here.

The SP, which had earlier stayed content with celebrating anniversaries of socialist idealogue asked all its district units to celebrate the occasion at the district party headquarters or any public place to mark the day.

This was perhaps for the first time that a conscious effort was being made by the SP to ensure celebrations on Ambedkar Jayanti on a big scale.

Earlier in the day, Adityanath, accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, paid tributes to Ambedkar.

UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey also paid floral tributes to Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution.

Adityanath earlier participated in the birth anniversary celebrations of the Dalit icon at Ambedkar Mahasabha here, where he was honoured with the title of ‘Dalit Mitra’.

Addressing the public, Adityanath said, “The BJP government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked tirelessly for the emancipation and upliftment of Dalits by construction of more than 40 lakh toilets in the rural areas.”

In a tweet, Adityanath said, “Babasaheb has made a number of provisions in the Constitution of India to remove social disparities and provide social justice to the oppressed sections of the society…Every citizen of India will always remain obliged towards the contribution of Babasaheb.

“Babasaheb struggled throughout his life for the rights of Dalits and oppressed sections of the society.” The state government organised several programmes to mark the day amid tight security to prevent any possible attempt at inciting violence.

Districts magistrates and superintendents of police were asked to ensure peace and check any violence in their respective areas of jurisdiction, an official spokesperson said here.

District authorities were directed by the Home Department to intensify patrolling to ensure that no loss of life and property takes place and clamp prohibitory orders wherever necessary, he said.

Meanwhile, a statue of Ambedkar was found damaged in Richhpal Garhi village of Bisrakh in Greater Noida yesterday.

When villagers spotted the damaged statue, heavy police force was deployed in view of the tense situation.

Suniti Singh, SP (rural) said a case was registered against unknown persons for vandalism. The damaged statue was being replaced.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.