With just a few months away for the general elections, the former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda on Sunday charged the Congress with trying to woo the electorate on caste lines by holding conventions and rallies of various castes in different parts of the State.

Addressing a State-level convention of members of the Banjara community at the party headquarters here, Mr. Deve Gowda said that it was he who had made a demand for a caste census when he was in the Opposition in the 1990s.

Congress claim

Now, the Congress Government was claiming credit for conducting the caste census, he alleged.

The Congress government, headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has decided to conduct the caste census only to figure out the population of a particular caste and also assess the socio-economic status of each caste.

“The Janata Dal(S) belongs to all castes and communities in the State. The party has given power and positions to people from all castes and communities. Like the Congress, we don’t differentiate people on caste lines,” he claimed.

The party was committed to the welfare of all communities and castes, he said.

Role of intellectuals

Some intellectuals have been advising the Congress government after it came to power in May 2013. “I know what kind of intellectuals they are and why they are advising the government now,” he said.

To galvanise the party workers before the parliamentary elections, the party has decided to hold a grass-root level workers’ convention on January 17 in Bangalore. A State-level women’s convention will be held in Chitradurga on January 22 and a farmers’ convention will be held in Raichur on January 29.

State-wide base

Some leaders in the Congress wanted to curtail the growth of the Janata Dal (S) in the State. But the party has a State-wide base and it would emerge strongly in the elections, he said.

Janata Dal(S) State president A. Krishnappa and party leader Abdul Azeem were present. A large number of women from the Banjara community attended the programme.