(EDs: Adds Mayawati’s reax, minor edits) Lucknow, Mar 29 (PTI) The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to introduce B R Ambedkar’s middle name ‘Ramji’ in all references to him in official correspondence and records, a move criticised by the opposition as politically motivated.

A government order on using ‘Ramji’ was issued last night by Principal Secretary (Admin) Jitendra Kumar, an official spokesman said here today.

‘Ramji’ was the name of Ambedkar’s father and as per practice in Maharashtra, father’s name is used as the middle name by his son.

The government decision, however, did not go down well with the opposition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party seeing vote-bank politics behind it.

“The state government’s move to change the name of Dr.

Ambedkar is a drama aimed at getting cheap popularity… BJP and its government has been taking the name of Babasaheb these days for the selfish motive of gaining the votes of Dalits and indulge in all kind of dramas,” BSP chief Mayawati said.

“Dr. Ambedkar is Babasaheb and most respected of all sections of people, but like in the case of Gandhiji no one takes his full name and calls him Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Do the BJP people themselves refer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in government ads as Narendra Damodardas Modi. Why is this selfish politics being done in the name of Ambedkar,” she asked.

SP leader Anurag Bhadoria, too, accused the BJP government of politicising Ambedkar’s name to win Dalit votes.

In Mainpuri, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said that instead of altering Ambedkar’s name, it is important that the path he showed is followed.

“A change has been made in the name of Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Whosoever has the right to vote knows his name. It is essential today, when he is being remembered and a new name is being affixed with his name, to follow the path shown by him,” he said.

“I will say that it is also essential that the chief minister reads the Preamble of the Constitution. If he does so, the anger that was shown in the UP Legislative Council over his remarks against socialism will not be seen. The Constitution and its basis is around socialism,” he said, referring to Adityanath’s speech in Vidhan Parishad yesterday.

“If someone says ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ it can also be considered as the definition of socialism by some people,” he said.

Congress spokesman Surendra Rajput said the BJP only follows names and not the work done by big personalities.

“They only want to work on the name. It will be better if the BJP works on saving and strengthening the Constitution,” he said, adding, “Ambedkar cannot be eulogised by weakening the Constitution.” UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya, however, said there was no politics in the government decision and no motive should be attached to the order.

Another senior minister and spokesman of the Uttar Pradesh government, Sidharth Nath Singh, said the BJP has only seen to it that the name of Baba Saheb is written correctly.

“Those who follow his ideals and indulge in tactics should not dabble into politics in his name. When it is written and used rightly they should praise it,” he said.

“In Maharashtra, a father’s name is mentioned in the middle of his son’s name. But, if they (opposition) see Ayodhya in it, this shows how hollow they are and how low they have stooped to that they connect everything with it (Ram and Ayodhya),” he said.

Singh said the use of Baba Saheb’s photo in all government offices has been made mandatory from April.

To a question, he said: “The SP should first answer why they had not done the needful when Governor Ram Naik had made this suggestion to him. Akhilesh Yadav should say…now that he has joined hands with Mayawati.” A campaign to write Ambedkar’s name correctly was initiated by Naik in December 2017, citing the manner in which Ambedkar signed on the pages of the Constitution.

The spelling of Ambedkar in English will remain unchanged, but in Hindi it will be spelt as ‘Aambedkar’.

The governor had written to the prime minister, the chief minister and also to Babasahib Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha, expressing concerns over the prevalent “incorrect spelling” of Ambedkar.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.