NEW DELHI: Seeking to reach out to Dalits, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will on April 23 launch his party’s nationwide ‘save the constitution’ campaign, aimed at highlighting alleged attacks on the Constitution and the community.
The Congress’ present and former Dalit lawmakers, those holding offices in zilla parishad, civic bodies and panchayat samitis, will take part in the launch event, aimed at sensitising the attendees on the current state of affairs with regard to the community.
Besides, the Congress’ office-bearers attached to its regional units, its youth, women and Seva Dal wings will also attend the event, to be held here at the Talkatora stadium.
The attendees are expected to take the message forward, holding similar campaigns in states to reach out to community members, the Congress’ scheduled caste department chairman and event organiser Nitin Raut told PTI.
“The Constitution is under attack under the BJP’s rule. The community is being denied educational, employment opportunities. There is anger among its members on various issues. The meeting will highlight that.
“Our leaders will take message from the convention in their respective areas,” Raut added.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reported remarks that he could be elevated to the coveted post because of the Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, Raut asked why then the Constitution and Dalits were allegedly under attack under his dispensation.
Raut further claimed that such a situation did not prevail when the Congress was in power.
“The Congress has delivered for the community. Those attending the convention will highlight that too in their areas,” he added.
Dalits form roughly 17% of the country’s electorate. There are 84 Parliamentary seats reserved for candidates belonging to the scheduled castes. The BJP had bagged nearly half of the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, reflecting in its success in politically key states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Raut said only three-four seats were won by the Congress then. The party now aims to win as many seats as possible in the next general election, he added.
Efforts are also on to galvanise the Dalit community’s support to Gandhi nationally, the party sources said.