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HVK Archives: BJP to project concern for welfare of SC/STs

BJP to project concern for welfare of SC/STs - The Hindu

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
21 January 1997

Title : BJP to project concern for welfare of SC/STs
Author :
Publication : The Hindu
Date : January 21, 1997

The Bharatiya Janata Party which has been generally perceived as
the party dominated by high caste people or Brahmins, Is striving
to dispel the notion and project the image that it is more
concerned about the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes people. This point has been emphasised by the national
leaders of the BJP at Its third State conference being held here.

The national vice-president of the BJP. Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi,
delivering the inaugural address at the two-day conference. said
that to draw the attention of the people. the first day of the
conference was wholly devoted to the cause of the SC/ST people. It
also focused attention on how to eradicate the social evils of
untouchability and suppression in the name of castes, and
reservation for the SC/ST. The conference also passed a resolution
highlighting the problems of the SC/ST and that of the converts.

Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi emphatically said that the BJP had the
distinction of having sent the ' highest representations of Members
of Parliament belonging to the SC/ST. In the case of Rajya Sabha
also the BJP had nominated Mr. Bangaru Laxmananan (who originally
belongs to Andhra Pradesh) from Gujarat. Some quarters were
deliberately spreading misinformation that the BJP had got nothing
to do with the SC/ST. But the facts spoke for themselves and the
BJP stood solidly behind these sections of the people, he said.

QUOTA FOR CONVERTS OPPOSED: Later, the conference passed a
resolution denouncing the proposal to extend reservation to the
converts. It put forth the view that though the coverts could not
be said to be enjoying equal status in society educationally and
economically they were far better than their brethren who stay put
in the same community. In this context the demand for extending the
reservation to the converts was not justifiable. It pointed out
that it was against the tenets of Christianity, to which about 50
per cent of the SC/ST people had been converted, to distinguish
people on the basis of castes.

It said that the percentage of the SC/ST had risen to 16.5 in 1993
against 15 per cent 1951, but there was no corresponding increase
in the percentage of reservation. In this context, extending the
benefit to the converts would affect the SC/ST as a whole, and
therefore, it urged the Government not to include the converts in
the ST list. It also said that the Government must provide free
education up to graduate level to the SC/ST candidates, and to
improve their employment opportunities open centres for imparting
training to them in handicrafts.

It further said that to Inculcate good habits, especially to wean
them away from addiction to drinking habit. the Government should
conduct "spiritual classes". and construct places of worship In
their areas. It appealed to the government to Include the Badagas
in the Nilgiris In the "Scheduled Tribe list."

Those who participated In the conference Included the president of
the all-India SC/ST wing of the party, Mr. Bangaru Laxmananan, MP,
Mr. K. L. Lakshmanna, State president. Mr. T. R. Gopalan. State
vice-president, Mr. L. Ganesan, State general secretary, Mr.
Shanmugham. Coimbatore district president, Mr. K. S. Natarajan.
president of the district industrial cell of the party, and others.

Addressing in a press conference, Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi said the
country will soon face a mid-term poll, as the survival of the
13-party United Front Government is in jeopardy. The inherent
contradictions, lack of direction and the Impending threat of
withdrawal of support to the UF Government by the Congress(I) are
pointers to the mid-term poll, he said.

Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi said that it was not only the BJP president.
Mr. L. K. Advani, who had predicted the mid-term poll but also the
spokesman of the Congress(I). Mr. Gadgil, Who had gone on record
stating that the UF Government would not survive through the year
1997.

None of the constituents of the United Front had a significant
strength, and therefore in their coming together. the Government
had acquired a "strange appearance." In the last six months the
Central Government had not acquitted itself creditably, as it had
not worked in a planned manner.

Mr. Krishnamurthi said the economy of the country was in a bad
shape, and the industrial scenario was greatly affected. If the
agriculture, sector could present a better picture it was due to
the mercy of the rain god and-it had nothing to do with the policy
of the Government.



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