With an eye on the significant number of voters among the backward classes ahead of next year’s scheduled elections to the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday inaugurated a Backward Classes Welfare Secretariat for effective mainstreaming of the backward classes through educational, social and economic empowerment programmes.

The secretariat was inaugurated at a function organised to mark the 97th birth anniversary of the former Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs (1915-1982) at the Banquet Hall of the Vidhana Soudha.

Under one roof

Mr. Shettar said the State Cabinet decided to form the Backward Classes Welfare Secretariat a few months ago in order to bring all organisations working for the betterment of the backward classes under one roof. Offices of the secretariat would be established in all taluk headquarters.

Devaraj Urs was the longest serving Chief Minister of the State.

During his tenure as Chief Minister, the State saw many milestones in the fields of irrigation, land reforms, industrial development and poverty alleviation.

Earlier, Mr. Shettar, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Social Welfare Minister A. Narayanaswamy paid floral tributes to Urs at his statue at the Vidhana Soudha.

Mr. Shettar also released an Urs album of photographs. The government has also organised a photo exhibition on Urs at the entrance to the Banquet Hall at the Vidhana Soudha.