With Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign bringing a section of the civil society to the centre stage of politics, the Youth Congress has roped in social activists, writers and academicians to lecture its budding Dalit and women leaders on politics.
As part of this first ever initiative, the Congress party's youth wing recently organised two special workshops for its Dalit and women elected office bearers.
These included well-known Dalit writer and author of the celebrated autobiography 'Joothan' Om Prakash Valmiki, Dalit intellectual and former University Grants Commission chairman Sukhdeo Thorat, eminent sociologist who has written extensively on the Dalit issues Ghanshyam Das, social activist Madhu Kishwar among others.
It has been Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's strategy to woo the Dalits as part of his "Mission UP 2012" to revive the party's fortunes in Uttar Pradesh in next year's assembly elections after more than two decades. UP, where the party has been out of power since 1989, is considered crucial for the Congress to re-emerge as a single dominant political force at the Centre and the Dalits constitute about 21.5% in the state.
The three-day workshops included both political as well as social contents and focused on encouraging the participants to develop their leadership skills besides encouraging them to represent their community in a better way.
"Apart from imparting leadership skills, these workshops also help the young office bearers in becoming a leader within the Congress," a Youth Congress functionary said.
"Participants in the women's camp showed great enthusiasm. All the members spoke freely about their commitment to the organisation," the functionary said.