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Only Cong accorded political status for dalits: Chidambaram

india Updated: Dec 27, 2010 01:43 IST

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday lamented that untouchability had not been eradicated even now and maintained that it was only the Congress party which accorded political status for dalits.

Dwelling on the role played by Congress during pre and post-independence period, he said the architect of Indian Constitution B R Ambedkar was not a Congress leader at that time but late Jawaharlal Nehru appointed him as Law Minister and nominated him as head of the committee for framing the Constitution.

Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Jinnah had fought for the country's independence, he said.

Despite efforts of these leaders, the country is still segregated on caste and religious lines, he said at a public meeting here in which different associations of SC and ST and backward classes merged with the Congress party.

Congress when it was in power in Tamil Nadu had made Kakkan, a dalit, state Home Minister but from 1967 till now when it was out of power no dalit leader has been given important portfolios, he said, without naming either DMK or AIADMK.

He said dalit leaders like late KR Narayanan was made President while late Jagjivan Ram was made Defence Minister and Meira Kumar Lok Sabha Speaker.

On the UPA government's rule, he said a 8.5 per cent economic growth had been registered in the past five years. In the next three years, it would be a nine percentage growth. If this growth is achieved, one crore more jobs would be created.

A sense of security is a pre-requisite for all. People who feel insecure such as dalits, muslims or those in North east, central India and in Kashmir valley where terror outfits backed by Pakistan pose a threat need redoubled security, he said.

He said the country is grappling with both left wing terrorism in the form of naxalism and right wing terrorism and as such it is divided from left to right but did not elaborate. The Congress has stuck to a middle path but despite this some 'mistakes' had taken place, he said indirectly referring to the 2G spectrum scam.

But the UPA government had taken action against ministers and officials who were involved in alleged scandals, he said, adding that opposition had wantonly stalled Parliamentary proceedings to prevent crucial Constitutional amendments.