New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) Dalits continue to be a divided lot and the recent Uttar Pradesh election result has shown their “saffronisation with their identity being subsumed as Hindus”, Congress’ national coordinator for the SC, ST, OBC and Minorities Departments K Raju said, terming it as a cause of concern.
He also called upon various Dalit organisations to unite and emerge as a consolidated force to espouse the cause of the community and ensure their rightful and equitable claim in various fields.
“Dalits are not a consolidated force and have got fragmented. Dalits, who once had common energy to fight, are today holding fresh aspirations as they have become educated. Now, the divisive narrative has also come in and is fragmenting them as a block,” he told PTI in an interview.
He noted that Dalits should realise that it is in their interest that they should be seen as one group for political parties to realise their worth.
“I strongly advocate that various Dalit groups should merge and come out as a strong political power,” Raju said noting that Dalits comprise of 25 percent the population.
“If there is awareness among Dalits, they can tilt the verdict in any election. If they become united and one, they can realise their goals better,” the Congress leader said, adding that they should learn from the upper castes and should take up their cause with equal force.
“There has been saffronisation of Dalits and this has been brought out in Uttar Pradesh elections. The identity of Dalits has subsumed as a Hindu today. But, Dalits will realise this one day and will have to answer. Today Dalits are under a spell of Hindutva, which is not good for society,” he also said.
Asked what went wrong in Punjab, where the Congress projected Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi as chief ministerial candidate but lost badly, the Congress leader said the four years before the Channi government had not met the aspirations of Dalits.
The Congress won 21 out of 34 SC constituencies and a lot of hopes were generated among the Dalits, but unfortunately that has not happened, he said.
“Just announcing a Dalit chief minister alone is not enough, the party’s narrative for Dalits has to be demonstrated. Dalits are not to be taken for granted over such symbolic things. A sustained approach to meet their aspirations need to be in place,” he noted.
The former bureaucrat said the battles for realising the vision of Dalits need to be understood by the community.
The clear message is that each of these things need to be fought through, then only Dalits will be able to realise their vision, whether it is what they are entitled to and what is written for them in the Constitution, he said.
“The battles need to be fought and when these battles are taken to the road, then political parties will come in their support,” he said He also observed that reservation is only a small portion of the solution to Dalits’ problems, but they continue to only fight for a small portion of the cake because vested interests have made Dalit societies fight amongst themselves.
Raju has edited a book entitled “The Dalit Truth: The Battles For Realizing Ambedkar’s Vision”, a collection of essays that reflects the multitude of Dalit truths and their battles against the lies perpetrated by the caste system.
The book by the former IAS officer and a close aide of Rahul Gandhi was launched by the former Congress president on Saturday.
Raju said when he looked at Dalit issues cutting across various fields, whether politics, employment, access to justice and development, despite the promise of equality or fair play, the community is suffering on account of “lies of the caste system” and this forms the main theme of this book.
“Unless we understand what are the lies of the caste system, we will not be able to understand the Dalit truth,” he claimed.
Asked about the recent Uttar Pradesh elections, he said it was a binary, but the efforts of Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will not go waste and things will be different in the coming days when parliamentary elections are held.
He claimed that the track record for the Congress towards Dalits is unparalleled and no party can claim the transformatory changes that the Congress has brought about.
The Congress leader said across the country, whenever there are atrocities against Dalits, non-Dalits should espouse their cause.
He also suggested that Dalits should understand very clearly what is the agenda of various political parties. PTI SKC SKC RT RT
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.