Categorisation of Scheduled Castes is a just demand and the Congress had included it in its manifesto in the last elections in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Sarve Satyanarayana said.
Raising the hopes of the audience assembled at a meeting organised by Madiga Students Federation to demand for a bill in Parliament he said the Congress was not against categorisation but required to consider it in the larger perspective of the country. There is a need to categorise even the Scheduled Tribes and if required increase the percentage of reservation from 15 to 20 per cent he said amidst thunderous applause.
He promised that he would leverage his position as a Minister and his proximity to Sonia Gandhi to convince her and the party leadership on the need for categorisation and make them take steps to bring in a legislation on categorisation before the 2014 General Elections.
He hit out at Telugu Desam Party and its leadership for not being sincere in their efforts to categorise the SCs. TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu did not use his political influence with the Centre to get a legislation passed by Parliament after it was struck down by Supreme Court, this shows he was not sincere about the issue, the Congress leader said. He promised to arrange for Krishna Madiga to meet Sonia Gandhi and explain the need for categorisation.
He said the Congress was committed to give Telangana.
A separate Telangana state can only be formed by the Congress, but it may take some time, Mr Satyanarayana said urging people to be patient.
Stressing on the need for non-confrontation he urged Madigas not to estrange Malas.
He promised to make efforts to help convince Malas and take their support in pushing through the categorisation of SCs.
Manda Krishna Madiga and a number of other Dalit leaders also spoke.