In an apparent competition of Dalit politics in Haryana Congress, former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda Saturday held a Dalit Panchayat in New Delhi in which all Dalit MLAs from Haryana Congress, many former MLAs and central leaders including All India Congress Committee (AICC) SC-ST cell president K Raju participated.
On his part, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Ashok Tanwar will hold a Dalit Sammelan at Jind on Sunday.
Dalits constitute 20% of the state’s population. During the past few days, Hooda has held a series of “Kisan Panchayats” to raise the issues of farmers, who are facing crisis in the absence of profitable prices. Later, Hooda renamed these panchayats as Kisan-Majdoor Panchayats to include labourers, in an apparent bid to project himself as leader of all communities.
Saturday’s Dalit Panchayat was addressed by all Dalit Congress MLAs from Haryana — Geeta Bhukkal, Udai Bhan, Jaiveer Singh Valmiki and Shakuntala Khatak. These MLAs had supported Hooda even when there was a tussle between the former CM and Tanwar in 2016 following a clash between Congress workers in New Delhi in which Tanwar had received injuries.
In today’s Dalit Panchayat, Hooda alleged that the BJP-led state government has stopped all schemes meant for the welfare of Dalits which were launched during his government. “My government had given plots to four lakh BPL families, but the BJP government did not give any plot under the scheme. We had given water tanks to 10.20 lakh BPL families, apart from offering scholarships to the students from economically backward communities and Vivah Shagun Yojna for the poor,” Hooda said while addressing the panchayat.
Talking about his Dalit Sammelan to be held at Jind on Sunday, Tanwar said, “We would discuss how the issues of Dalits can be taken to the grass-root more effectively.”
Asked about Hooda’s Dalit Panchayat, Tanwar said, “It’s good thing that he (Hooda) is raising Dalit issues, but it should appear in mindset and actions also.”
Asked about politics on Dalit issues, he said, “Others may be doing competition but we are genuinely raising the issues of Dalits. We had planned our Dalit Sammelan about one-and-a-half months ago. We are fighting for Dalit empowerment and raising voice against the atrocities on Dalits. We had also raised these issues when we met Haryana Governor recently.”