The national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Scheduled Caste (SC) Morcha fell short of the hype generated due to the meeting venue being the Dalit-dominated Doaba region. During the two-day meet, no discussions were held on the possible expansion of the party's base in the state and no issues related to Punjab figured on the agenda.
"We are, by and large, satisfied with the functioning of the Punjab government and the policies it has adopted for the Dalits. Some concerns were raised by our Punjab members. We have taken cognisance of these matters and would raise them at the appropriate level in the government," said Dushyant Gautam, national president of the SC Morcha of the BJP, at the conclusion of the meeting.
The SC Morcha passed a resolution that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government would bring amendments to the existing SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
"In our resolution, we demand stricter provisions," said the Morcha chief.
However, sources said that in the last session of the meeting chaired by national general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal, a few members from Punjab expressed their anguish over increasing incidents of violence against Dalits, especially under the SAD-BJP rule.
"A member even went on to say that the BJP was being seen as an anti-Dalit party, as it did not take up the issue with SAD, fearing adverse impact on the alliance," a source told HT.
SC Morcha Punjab unit president Dr Dilbag Rai told the media that few members from the state did express concern over the increasing incidents of atrocities. "We told our national leadership that we are neither satisfied nor very happy on certain Dalit issues and way in which the SAD had dealt with those," he said.
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