Ahmedabad: Dalit Leader and Independent MLA from Vadgam, Jignesh Mevani, has challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to dare paint the Congress as a party of the Dalits, OBCs and the minorities, or of the KHAM, a political acronym that once stood for Koli Kshatriya, Harijan (Dalit), Adivasi, and Muslim.
If the BJP thinks that by doing so it can tarnish the image of the Congress and garner upper caste votes, it will be a big strategic mistake of the ruling party that can backfire.
Speaking to IANS, Mevani, who had earlier pledged outside support to the Congress, said: “Earlier, the BJP had tried to tarnish the Congress party’s image by running gospel propaganda of pro-minority party. But it has failed, as running such campaign for more than two decades, the Congress’ vote share has not dwindled.”
The Dalit leader further explained that if the BJP at all attempts to varnish Congress as the party of backward class, instead of damaging the Congress in electoral politics, it will boomerang for the ruling party, and on the contrary, Congress’ votes will consolidate and benefit the party.
He ruled out all allegations that Congress is not promoting or giving space to youths. Citing examples of him, Kanahiya Kumar, Alpesh Thakor and Hardik Patel, he said this is the best example that a party does care for the youth, not only gives space, but mentors and trains them and projects them as star campaigners.
Furthering the youths’ interest and to kill the myth of youths being sidelined in the party, he suggested that the party should appoint four youths as working presidents of the state unit — his suggestion is that these youths should be from four zones of the state, and does not recommend on caste and creed line. They can be assigned specific tasks, responsibilities and also be made accountable.
Mevani opined that just agitating or protesting on issues does not make an image of a political option. Agitation or protest is to create awareness among the people about the issues they are facing and when the party comes up with a plan to resolve the problem, it makes it a political option. The Congress party is working on such a blueprint which it will put before the voters in the coming days, he added.
Citing an example, he said the Congress wants do away with the contract work system whether it is anganwadis, asha workers, lokrakshaks and such other services. For this the Congress is working on the economics and financial requirements for regularising such a large workforce and how budget allocations can be made. The Congress will discontinue the outsourcing business and this will create huge employment opportunities in the state.
For job creation, the Congress party is working on reviving small and medium scale units, some 35,000 to 40,000 units closed down in the last ten to fifteen years. For that a state financing scheme can be launched and once the SMEs are revived, it will create further employment avenues. Such plans will be explained to the people, which will attract them back to the Congress.
Even manpower will be increased in each district by a minimum of 200 to 300 employees. MNREGA which is now only being implemented in the rural area can be introduced in the urban areas also. Now it gives 100 days guaranteed work, which can be doubled or tripled, Mevani said.
He was confident that the Congress will give back self respect to the youths by giving them jobs with good salaries. For their self respect, the youths will turn to the Congress and bring it back to power.