Thursday, March 1, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Rahul engineers a Dalit touchstone to get a boost within the cabinet

Rahul engineers a Dalit touchstone to get a boost within the cabinet

By Kay Benedict

Last updated at 1:23 AM on 1st March 2012

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's pro-Dalit agenda got a boost
with the Cabinet secretariat directing all ministries and departments
to consult the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on
major policy matters affecting the community.

The secretariat, in its February 16 communiqué, has pointed out that
the NCSC and the Commission for Scheduled Tribes (CST) have not been
consulted, as envisaged under the Constitution, on major policy
initiatives affecting the two backward sections of the society.

Sources said Lok Sabha MP and NCSC chairperson P.L. Punia, who was
earlier Mayawati's Dalit strategist before joining the Congress and
was later handpicked by Rahul for his 'Mission 85' (to win maximum
reserved constituencies) in Uttar Pradesh, had pointed out the issue
of ministerial indifference towards Dalit issues.
Rahul Gandhi having dinner at a Dalit's house in the Mendki village of
Jhansi district

Rahul Gandhi having dinner at a Dalit's house in the Mendki village of
Jhansi district

The ministries and departments have been told to confer with the NCSC
through the social welfare ministry, under which it falls.

The ST commission, meanwhile, falls under the tribal affairs ministry.

The move has acquired political overtones with Rahul micro-managing
the issue of Dalit empowerment ahead of the crucial 2014 Lok Sabha

With UP accounting for about 22 per cent Dalits, Rahul had set up a
core team of four MPs, headed by Punia, to manage the assembly
election campaign in the 85 reserved constituencies in the state.
Rahul with the then UK foreign secretary David Miliband at an Amethi village

Rahul with the then UK foreign secretary David Miliband at an Amethi village

Young Lok Sabha MPs Ashok Tanwar (former president of Youth Congress
and NSUI), Manicka Tagore and Ponnam Prabhakar are other members in
the group.

The state, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, is crucial to the
formation of government in Delhi in 2014. Punia, who is away
campaigning in UP, welcomed the circular.

Denying any political motive behind the move, he said: 'There is a
provision in the Constitution which makes it binding on the
ministries/departments to consult the commission.'
Rahul shares a meal at a Dalit hamlet in Shravasti district

Rahul shares a meal at a Dalit hamlet in Shravasti district

For proper empowerment of Dalits, action need to be taken at the
policy-making level, he said.

The government note inter alia said: 'The ministries/departments are
advised to ensure that the National Commission for SCs or STs, as the
case may be, shall mandatorily be consulted by them before the
finalisation of notes for consideration of the Cabinet.'

Section (9) of Article 338 of the Constitution stipulates that 'the
Union and every state government shall consult' the commissions while
Clause 5(c) of the same article requires the SC and ST commissions to
advise ministries on 'the planning process for socio-economic
development' of the two sections and evaluate the progress of the
Realty dreams weigh heavy on UP's 'green'


What is described as the Harit Pradesh of Uttar Pradesh is fast
becoming a concrete jungle, courtesy the unholy nexus between the
administration and the builders.

Mathura, Noida, Meerut have fallen to the insatiable greed of the
builders who are dictating the agenda for the 'development' of these
towns, in which farmers are the direct casualty.

The twin towns of Mathura and Vrindawan are a case in point.

Over 700 crores have been spent by the Mayawati government to repair
roads, improve drainage, and plant trees in Vrindawan.

Contrast this with Mathura. Rickety roads, chocked drains, just seven
hours of power supply a day and traffic jams.

But the reason behind the difference in the infrastructure of two
cities lies more in the realty demand than the indifference of the
administration. Builder Purushutam Sharma alias Lalu Gayawale said:
'It's a one-window corruption system. Pay money to associates of the
CM, get your project approved.

BSP rule is far better as compared to the SP regime in which we had to
run from pillar to post and pay bribe to a number of people.

Not anymore. Builders never had it so good in UP.' Baanke Bihari
Temple head priest, K.D. Goswami, blamed it on state administration
and local politicians. 'Nothing has changed for the past 15 years.

Industry is shutting down and the unemployed youth either takes to
crime or migrate to Delhi.'

Sitting BSP MLA Ashok Aggarwal, who is contesting on a SP ticket this
time, claimed that CM Mayawati's ill-treatment to his constituency
forced him to leave the party.

Former minister and BJP heavy weight, Ravi Kant Garg, said since
nearly 35 per cent of voters in Harit Pradesh are Muslims no party is
talking about development.

'All they talk about is quota. But it is us who are blamed for
polarising the Hindu voters.'

In Meerut - which has nearly 40 per cent Muslim voters - several
fringe parties such as the Muslim League and Peace Party have fielded
candidates and will play spoilsport for Congress or the SP. Adil
Chaudhary, SP candidate from Meerut, said: 'Development of Meerut is
linked with the fate of Muslims. Muslims form the backbone of the
area, as they are the landless workers, artisans and do most of the
menial jobs.'

Meerut district Congress chief Salim Bharti, claimed that builders
were doing a good job, but cautioned that 'Rahulji has promised that
Bhatta-Parsaul will not be repeated here'.

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