Party leaders promise to fulfil their 35 major demands
At a convention of persons with disabilities that had an unmistakable focus on the coming Legislative Assembly elections, Janata Dal (Secular) on Sunday promised to improve their living condition in three months if the party is voted to power.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the State of being apathetic towards persons with disabilities, speakers at the convention appealed to the gathering to support the JD(S) in the coming elections, claiming that the party’s national president H.D. Deve Gowda and State unit president H.D. Kumaraswamy had “greatly contributed for their welfare” during their tenure as Chief Minister.
JD(S) promised to fulfil their 35 major demands, including insurance for children with disabilities, setting up of a university for the disabled, special hospital in the four revenue divisions to cater for their needs, separate counter in government hospitals, setting up of a corpus for their welfare, enhanced quota in employment and local bodies, free education, construction of kalyan bhavans, free transport facility across the State, and subsidy for films directed by persons with disabilities.
Terming the convention “historic”, Mr. Gowda said none of the political parties had held such a convention in the country.
He said Mr. Kumaraswamy had set an agenda for the uplift of persons with disabilities. Underlining the need to set up a corpus to fulfil the long-pending demands of persons with disabilities, he said the party was committed to making their life better and meaningful. “We need political strength to do this,” he said.
Mr. Kumaraswamy, however, said the intention of holding the convention was to draw the attention of the government to the issues affecting persons with disabilities, and “not to exploit them.” JD(S) would not exploit them to improve the party’s position in the coming elections, he asserted.
The BJP government had neglected programmes aimed at the welfare of persons with disabilities that were launched during his 20-month tenure as Chief Minister, he said.
“We are not making empty promises. It is our commitment and the decision is yours,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said.
He called upon the gathering to defeat those who contest elections with money power and seek votes on caste considerations.
Basavanna, president of the party’s Disabilities Wing, spoke.
Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda (24), who bagged the silver medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games, inaugurated the convention which saw participation of people from across the State. Regretting that benefits being extended to persons with disabilities were being misused, Mr. Girisha sought greater support for sportspersons.
Persons with disabilities who have achieved success in various fields were felicitated on the occasion. Mr. Gowda handed over a cheque for Rs. 5 lakh to Mr. Girisha for making his district (Hassan) proud.