Addressing a Dalit-Girijan meet, the Union Minister attacks Modi, says Gujarat can claim little development and was not bereft of scams

Union Minister of State for Finance J.D. Seelam on Monday called upon people to reject candidates of the TDP-BJP combine and also those leaders who defected from one party to another.

No Dalit with self-respect would vote for the TDP or YSR Congress, Mr. Seelam asserted at a Dalit-Girijana Chaitanya yatra and earlier at a press meet at the District Congress Committee office here. He wondered how TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu had forged an alliance with the BJP, after earlier repenting about a similar one in the past.

Refuting BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s claims of unprecedented development in Gujarat, Mr. Seelam said Gujarat had the highest school drop-out rate in the country. Gujarat was not bereft of scams too, but not enough attention was paid to them, he remarked.

Lakhs of acres of land allotted by the Modi government to corporates were sold by the latter without setting up industrial units, the Union Minister alleged.

Mr. Seelam said Dalit Christians had sought a ticket for the Kadapa Assembly constituency and he had appraised the Congress high-command of the demand.

Mr. Seelam said a person of any community could become the Chief Minister from the Congress, but such a situation did not exist elsewhere, he added.

He flayed the Opposition for initially giving letters favouring bifurcation, but later putting the blame on the Congress for dividing the State. Recalling that former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was a die-hard Congressman all his life, Mr. Seelam rapped his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy for forming the YSR Congress and targeting the Congress.

Dalit leaders in the Congress – B. Jakraiah, D. Srinivasulu and P. Sunil Kumar – alleged that funds allotted for the Dalit-Girijan development had been diverted and genuine beneficiaries failed to benefit. They resented the stipulation that Dalits and Girijans should provide security of Rs.1 lakh for getting a loan sanctioned.

He lamented that funds meant for Dalit-Girijan development were diverted for other purposes in previous Congress governments. Former Minister Mohd. Ahmedullah and S. Ramamuni Reddy, National SC Commission member P.M. Kamalamma, PCC general secretary Penubala Penchalaiah, DCC president M. Ashok Kumar and others participated.