A meeting of leadership of backward classes and SC-ST organisations, held here on Tuesday has called upon voters to intelligently exercise their franchise for the candidate of the political party that was ready to creatively respond to the just demands of the backward classes and SC-ST communities.

The meeting held in the backdrop of controversies surrounding the proposed Special Recruitment Board for appointments to Devaswom Boards, was attended by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam general secretary, Vellappally Natesan. Earlier talking to reporters, Mr. Natesan said that backward classes and SC-ST communities constitute a major force in Piravom Assembly constituency and those who can influence them will win the by-polls there. He said that Ezhavas are the single majority community in Piravom and together with SC-ST communities command total votes of nearly 75,000.

However, these communities were being denied social and political justice in the State. "These communities had to participate in strikes (of major political parties) and receive the blows (inflicted by the police), but are neglected," Mr. Natesan said. The meeting also decided to form a non-political front encompassing all the organisations of backward classes and SC-ST communities in the coming days.

The meeting was attended by about 50 organisations representing various backward and SC-ST communities and about 14 organisations have expressed their support for the decisions to be taken at the meeting, Mr. Natesan said. The organisations attending the function included Hindu Parliament, Dheevara Sabha, Sidhanar Service Society, Cheramar Service Society, organizations of Thandan, Nadar and Paanan communities, KPMS and SNDP. Another meeting will be convened in Ernakulam soon.

The meeting demanded appointments to all schools and colleges where the Government was paying the salary for its staff should be through the PSC, by following the reservation norms.

He also called for second land reforms as the first land reforms were now 42 years old. K. Vidyasagar, former president, SNDP Yogam, who was also present, said that the 15 acres ceiling meant for plantation should be removed and should be brought down to its half. The excess land thus got should be distributed to backward classes and SC-ST communities, he said.

Mr. Natesan supported PSC recruitments to the posts in the Devaswom Board and will oppose any move to bring in legislations for the Recruitment Board. The Board for appointments in Devaswom Boards was being proposed for indulging in corruption, he alleged.

He called for a public apology from the LDF for backing the NSS during the fag end of its Government last time. The UDF also did not do anything for the backward classes and also owe an apology, he alleged.