Dalits urged to strengthen secular forces, so that their welfare could be ensured

The former Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council V.S. Ugrappa on Sunday alleged that of the 22.56 per cent budgetary allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, only 10 per cent had been spent.

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘A thought on Dalit politics’ organised by the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti-Karnataka, the Congress leader said the social welfare Ministers in 1976 resolved to allocate funds for SCs and STs commensurate with their population.

Mr. Ugrappa said while these sections were represented in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies, it was not done in the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils on the premise that they were Houses of intellectuals. Are there no intellectuals among the Dalits? he said.

He said that the MPs and MLAs being elected now did not belong to that category, barring a few. He said that Dalits, other backward classes and minorities, who formed 82.42 per cent of the population, should be empowered to formulate policies and programmes for all-round development.

The Congress leader regretted that all parties were only using Dalits as vote-banks, but unfortunately these communities did not realise the game plan. They should organise themselves and be in a position to dictate terms to the parties. Still there were differences between various groups among these castes and communities, he added.\

‘Dalits supported BJP’

The former member of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes N.V. Narasimhaiah said Dalits played a major role in bringing the BJP to power in the State, but it did not take up any welfare measures for their uplift. He urged Dalits to strengthen secular forces, so that their welfare could be ensured. Mr. Annaiah said no party, including the Bahujan Samaj Party, was secular. He said the BJP fielded touchable Dalits to come power.

A. Manjunath of the PES College spoke.

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