CONGRESS PLANS to start a countrywide campaign on “Dalit rights and their plight” to highlight the alleged harassment faced by them under the Modi government. The movement will be based on incidents like Dalit flogging at Una in Gujarat and the recent HRD panel report claiming that research scholar Rohith Vemula, who had committed suicide, was not from the community.
Sources in the party said while a preparatory meeting has been called in Lucknow on Friday to take suggestions from Dalit leaders about the campaign, another meeting will be held later this month to give a final shape to the campaign.
Till February, Congress had initiated several campaigns and yatras focusing on Dalits in UP. While it had taken out ‘Bhim Jyoti Yatra’ last year focusing on SC-dominated areas, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had addressed a ‘Dalit leadership conclave’ in Lucknow in February, this year.
However, there was a feeling in the party that in the ongoing poll campaign, there was a need to focus on Dalits with now BJP also trying hard to woo them.
“We do not do politics of caste like other parties and instead raise the voice of those in need. While the shape and size of the campaign will be decided in Delhi, our entire team from UP will sit in Lucknow on Friday to discuss issues that can be raised,” said Bhagwati Chaudhary, chairman of UP Congress SC Department, who was also made a senior vice-president of the party recently. “We are going to focus on growing atrocities against Dalits. We will expose BJP, which is shamelessly claiming to be their well wishers, amid incidents like Una and the report on Rohit Vemula’s caste,” Chaudhary added.
Meanwhile, after the over one-month-long yatras — which had began soon after Congress announced a new team for UP — AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and state president Raj Babbar held an one-to-one meeting in Delhi on Thursday with vice-presidents of the state units.
The vice-president incharges of the 18 divisions were reportedly quizzed on probable candidates in their regions, the local equations and feedback on the ‘27 saal UP Behal’ and ‘Kisan Yatra’ of Rahul. “Since the time new team was formed, everyone was touring the state.
This was first the one-to-one meeting,” said a vice-president, adding that the meeting will continue on Friday.
Sources said the party has decided to postpone ‘Rahul Sandesh Yatra’ to October 15, which was scheduled to start Thursday.