Gujarat government came under heavy attack from Congress as the party announced on Thursday a host of measures for welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and the minorities, if it’s voted to power in the upcoming elections.
The ST/SC, OBC and minorities have traditionally been Congress voters, but they have drifted away from the party in recent years. Announcing the ninth of its 12-point election outline, India’s grand-old party made several announcements in a hope to win them back.
The announcements were made at a joint press conference of president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), Arjun Modhwadia; leader of opposition in state assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil and chairman of Congress’s election campaign, Shankarsinh Vaghela. They attacked the state government for failing to work for the well-being of weaker sections.
For STs, Congress announced high budgetary grants, proper implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and Enforcement of Right to Forest Act among others.
It also assured that use of the word ‘Vanbandhu’ would be stopped.
For SCs, the party announced revival of dalit co-operative societies. It said that practice of carrying filth would be abolished and promised 2% reservation for the valmiki community in recruitment of PTC teachers. It announced that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhavan would be built in every taluka.
The Congress announced formulation of schemes to assist various sub-tribes in OBC category, and promised special budgetary provisions and special industrial zones for artisans engaged in various traditional trades.
“The gap between the rich and the weaker sections has widened in Gujarat under BJP’s rule. If voted to power, Congress will take maximum steps for uplift of the weaker sections,” they said.
Congress announced that a separate department for welfare of minorities would be created. It said that a state minority commission will be constituted, while the PM’s 15-point programme for minorities would be strictly implemented. It also promised steps for improving education among minorities.
The party also promised special reservation for physically and mentally disabled for admission to school and colleges. It also said that reservations would be provided for employment to such persons.