'Dalit leaders should be more vocal'

Highlights

Concern over non-projection of Dalit issues...

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  • Concern over non-projection of Dalit issues effectively
  • Need to make public representatives accountable

Hyderabad: Joint Secretary in the department of pharmaceuticals, Government of India Vundru Rajasekhar on Monday expressed concern that Dalit political representatives were not vocal in legislative bodies and were ignoring the issues and problems pertaining to Dalits.

Addressing a workshop on 'Poona Pact and Representative politics: Reflections' organised by Political Science Department and chaired by Prof. Bhangia Bhukya of EFLU at Osmania University, he said that the reason for Dalit representatives not raising Dalit issues was because 80 per cent of the electorate constitutes are non-Dalits.

The Poona Pact had a formula of two stage election. Separate and joint electorate for Dalits. It eventually became a formula by which the winner was decided by the Hindu majority.

He said that a recent survey conducted in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab revealed that 57.6 per cent of people felt that their MPs had not raised the issue of Dalits in the Parliament. 49.2 per cent felt that the MLAs and MPs do not raise the issues related to Scheduled Castes because they had to depend on other caste voters to win the polls.

TJAC Co-Chairman Mallepalli Lakshmaiah said that former minister Rajaiah had admitted that he failed to raise the issues pertaining to Dalits in the Assembly. Rajaiah also admitted that he could not voice Dalit issues in the Assembly as majority of his electorate consisted of non-Dalits. "Both, the Telangana demand and the Dalit problem are resultant of continuing discrimination," he said.

He gave the example of MLA David Raju, who at a meeting in Ongole chided Dalits saying that they constituted only 20 per cent of his vote bank. "The very electoral system is going against the democratic principles, as the political parties are least bothered about upholding the values and principles of democracy," Lakshmaiah said.

Blaming the electoral system for the lopsided policies of the successive governments, he said that there was a need to focus on political responsibilities, economic policies, and the social system. "Even the recent SC, ST Sub Plans got the shape of Act only after 10 years of efforts made by ministers and MLAs," he said. Public awareness would help change the policies, lest Dalit community would be further victimized, he added. Prof. Chenna Basavaiah said that political representatives, despite being elected from the Dalit community were not being accountable.

Raising the issues of their own community was a rare thing. He said Dalit problems can be resolved only if three issues were given due focus. They include procedures and institutions, political hegemony and movement of advocacy that needs to focus to ensure Dalit communities benefit from political and democratic system.

Prof. Krishna Reddy opined that unless political resolutions were not taken, such problems will not be addressed. There is no spirit of democracy he said adding that such non performing leaders should not be re-elected.

Prof. Bhangia opined that no leaders evince any sort of interest in addressing these issues. "Though atrocities against Dalits continue unabated, only in a few cases we saw justice was done to the victims. It is the upper class which always dominates lower class. Dalit MPs and MLAs are non vocal because they cannot go against the wishes of their political parties," he said.

Editor in Chief of The Hans India and HMTV K Ramachandra Murthy, who unveiled a book 'Political Representation: Ambedkar and Electoral Method' authored by Rajasekhar said that the issue was not just confined to Dalit leaders. Non-Dalit leaders also were not raising people's problems either in assemblies or parliament.

He said that there was a need for giving impetus to these issues to ensure that political representatives would be made accountable. On SC ST Sub Plan, he said that even non Dalit leaders spoke in favor of the Act. He added that no Dalit leader from the T region had raised their voice either in parliament or in assembly. Head of Department Prof. Lakshmi, faculty members, and students attended the workshop.

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