Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Calling upon Dalits to support the Congress in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday said they alone could help the party strengthen its position in the State.

Addressing a "Dalit Mahasammelan" at Talkatora Indoor Stadium here, Mr. Jaiswal said Congress president Sonia Gandhi alone could safeguard their interests and cautioned them against those playing politics in the name of Dalits. Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar termed them as the "strength" and "soul" of the Congress. "If you go with others, it will be a mutual loss," she said. Member of Parliament Jagdish Tytler said higher education alone could help them stay ahead in the competitive world. "Cut down your expenditure and invest more in education," he said. The meeting adopted a 13-point resolution seeking separate Dalit universities on the pattern of Aligarh Muslim University; land and loan facilities to Dalit non-government organisations to open educational institutes; unemployment allowance to all SC and ST graduates and postgraduates and reservation in private sector among other things.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit observed that the policies meant for the welfare of the poor were not being implemented properly .

AICC secretary Jai Kishan said the policies of the Congress had made it possible for the Dalits to rise to positions of power.