Admitting that Congress had failed to produce a tall Dalit politician in the last few decades, a close aide of the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said here on Sunday that a comprehensive plan had been rolled out to build leaders from socially backward classes.
K Raju, chairperson of the Scheduled Caste department of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), who was in Karnal to chair a state-level convention of the newly appointed SC cell of the Haryana Congress, said that leaders from backward communities would be identified, nurtured and involved at every level so that people from the communities regain their confidence in the party's policies.
"There is no denial that after the late Jagjivan Ram, Congress has failed to produce a Dalit leader of national stature. But Rahul Gandhi has a clear vision to empower Dalits in all spheres and members from the weaker sections of the society would be nurtured," said the bureaucrat-turned-politician from Andhra Pradesh.
He said that the Dalit community had been wooed by 'opportunistic' parties with no vision and the Congress would soon reclaim their support.
Raju asked the newly appointed chairperson of Haryana Congress, Gyan Sahota to strengthen the SC cell at the grassroot level.
"I feel that the exercise to appoint committed Dalits at the block-level should be done within two months. It must be ensured that cases of atrocities and injustice against the weaker sections are taken up effectively," said Raju, who was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi to 'play a greater transformative role' in the party.
Tanwar vows to build millionaire Dalit entrepreneurs
State Congress president Ashok Tanwar said that the Congress was ready to build an army of millionaire entrepreneurs in the next 10 years.
"Being a Dalit, I understand the struggle faced by members of the socially backward communities. Without economic independence, development of Dalits is not possible and my party is willing to give guidance to the budding entrepreneurs," he said.
The former parliamentarian from Sirsa, Tanwar said that the Congress had to work hard to bring back the confidence of the Dalit community that has been wooed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In a veiled attack on his bête noire and former chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Tanwar said that caste clashes such as those in Mirchpur (where a physically challenged girl and her septuagenarian Dalit father were charred to death by a mob of dominant Jat community) do not reflect the mindset of the Congress but the failure of a few leaders.
'Congress much desist sycophants'
President of Congress legislature party Kiran Choudhry said that the party leadership must ensure that sycophants do not get any space in the party fold.
"I have been appointed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and will raise the issues of weaker and poor section with full force in the assembly and the on roads. Mujhe kisi ki bhi chaploosi karni nahin aati aur aap log bhi aise hi logon ke peeche lago jo kaam karte hain chamchagiri nahin (I am not a sycophant and you should also rally behind people who do work and not sycophancy)," said Choudhry, also a known a critic of Hooda.#
Dalit leaders including former union minister Kumari Selja and co-incharge of Haryana Congress's political affairs were present. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and other prominent Congress legislators from Haryana were not present at the function.