AFTER taking out “Bheem Jyoti Yatra” across Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls next year, Congress is once again invoking Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar’s name.
This time the party has planned “Bheem bhoj” —- a feast that will be organised in all the districts of the state on the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi on August 20 where people from upper caste will be invited to share food with Dalits. The food would primarily be cooked at the house of a Dalit leader of the party from that particular area.
The task is being undertaken by the SC/ST department of the party, which also plans to discuss at length the prevailing issues including the recent attack on Dalits in Gujarat and other parts of country and speak about the need for “social harmony”.
“Our aim at holding Bheem Bhoj is to send out the message of social harmony on the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi. Both Dalits and Savarna (upper castes) would sit together for this feast as Congress wants to ensure harmony between the two,” said Bhagwati Chaudhary, newly appointed senior vice-president of PCC.
Chaudhary, who is also the Chairman of Uttar Pradesh SC/ST department of Congress, further said, “There are forces trying to disturb the social harmony. It is a fact that people, who call cow their mother, do not touch them when the bovines die. They then call Dalits to do the needful. Later, it is people from Dalit community who end up being tortured. So our focus is to give a message of harmony, where Dalits can speak about their fundamental rights and where both they and the Savarna people realise the need for each other.”
Sources in the Congress said that instructions have been given to each and every district unit of SC/ST department to organise at least one major feast at the district level, where some senior party leaders would also be present. At the same time, party workers have been asked to organise similar feasts on a smaller scale at the block level.
Last year, Congress had organised Bheem Jyoti Yatra across UP raising issues of Dalits and speaking about the ideology of Ambedkar. It had also held a “SC/ST Convention” in Lucknow, which was addressed by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.