Reiterating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government's commitment to the uplift of Backward Classes, minorities and Dalits, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said here on Sunday that every attempt was being made to protect the interests of the oppressed communities.

He was inaugurating a Dalit festival, and a convention of minorities, backward classes and Dalits, organised by the Akhila Bharata AHINDA Shakti Parishat (ABSP) at the Town Hall, on the occasion of the 96 {+t} {+h} birth anniversary of D. Devaraj Urs.

“The Government will accord priority to them in education and employment, besides extending political representation to merge them with the mainstream,” he said.

Noting that social development was possible only through achieving equality in society, he said, “Inequality will result in disharmony.” On the programmes taken up for these sections, he said that the Government had allocated Rs. 1,300 crore and Rs. 1,800 crore respectively for various schemes launched for backward classes and Dalits.

Although the Government is being portrayed as “anti-minority”, the Government has taken steps to protect the interests of minorities with an allocation of Rs. 50 crore for them, he said.

In his keynote address S. Srinivas, convener, ABSP, appealed to the Chief Minister to address the problems being faced by the 84 drought-hit taluks in the State where over 80 per cent of the people belonged to backward classes and were Dalits.

He again appealed to Mr. Sadananda Gowda not to discriminate against rural areas as far as power supply was concerned. Students were put to hardship because of unscheduled load-shedding, he said and urged the Chief Minister to improve the conditions of hostels meant for Dalits, backward classes and minorities.

The parishat conferred the “Sadbhavana Award” and the “Karnataka Seva Ratna” Award on those who contributed in improving the conditions of backward classes. Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh Kamal Kishore and religious heads of backward classes participated in the programme.