Repeatedly, many times UPA and its leaders promised betterment of Dalit community and announced schemes ahead of elections. This is not the first time they failed to deliver what they actually promised. Let’s see how 2014 dosage of magic for the upliftment of Dalits and backwards work.
After attracting and securing minority vote bank, Congress is now shifting its focus on traditional Dalit voters. Rahul Gandhi believes that Dalits are not aware of what the government has done for their welfare and that’s why they are alienated from Congress. With the renewed focus on Dalits, Congress is trying to gain maximum votes especially in UP where Mayawati-led BSP controls the Dalit votes. He was all set to explain escape velocity theory in aeronautics comparing caste system. He thinks that caste system is like escape velocity. He used the energy of reservation and tried to get escape velocity for people. Rahul accused Mayawati for not allowing leadership to grow within scheduled caste. Frankly speaking, even the Jr. Gandhi knows that his family also never allowed any leader to grow in Congress party. Recently, we have noticed Ajay Maken addressing the Press and defending the Ordinance at that moment before Rahul called that ‘Nonsense’ and after Rahul left, Maken changed his stand saying what Rahul Gandhi is saying was his party’s stand. Following that, many Congress leaders like Rajiv Shukla, Manish Tiwari, Kapil Sibal and others started harping on the same tune and ultimately, the whole cabinet nodded their head including the Prime Minister. No one was allowed to grow in Congress right from the day of independence; they just behave like family slaves or bonded labour. There are many instances in the past and we will see in future also. Congress has always exploited minorities and Dalits for political gain. If Congress had worked on nation’s progress and not on vote bank politics, India would have been a great country and doing better than China today.
Dalits are still what they are not because of the so-called ‘upper-caste ruling Hindus’ in the government despising them, but because everyone is opportunistic. One only needs to look at the Dalit leaders like Lok Janshakti Party’s chief Ramvilas Paswan or Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) chief Mayawati. Everyone is busy carving a secure future for themselves. It’s preposterous to think that some of the highly educated cabinet members – whatever their character flaws might be – still harbour medieval mentalities. They are – like almost everyone else in politics – worried only about themselves. Reservation as a tool was built on lines of affirmative action but the results have been vastly different. In India, it’s marred with social apathy and political opportunism. Somehow, it has become a monster now, which can deepen the already existing divisions in society. Nevertheless, there are inherent defects in reservation which need to be addressed so that the benefits are accrued to the needy. Ultimately, society has to change its attitude towards its own people.
Today, Dalits are facing many problems on social, economic, and political fronts even after 66 years of nation’s independence. Generally, Dalits were voting for Congress. Congress government ruled India for nearly 55 years after independence. Congress is appointing a few Dalits in high posts to appease them. But, this is not enough to empower them. Now, Dalits have to introspect.
Dalits all over India need to organise themselves under a common umbrella irrespective of their sub-castes and languages. Only with the development of this solidarity, they can fight for their rights, self-respect and individuality.
Otherwise, the general apathy of the government at the center will only ensure that the Dalits continue to remain “the oppressed and disadvantaged section” of the Indian society. When non- Dalits agitate against reservations for Dalits in institutions of higher education and government services, the media generally joins the protestors. Media criticised Dalit leader Mayawati for her method of governance whereas others are appreciated for same governance. However, it occasionally carries a report on the travails of Dalits to clear its conscience. Government knows very well which side of the toast to be buttered at the time of elections to see maximum Dalits votes swing towards it. If we really want to see the change in India then any kind of reservation and policy provided by government should reach to the people who actually deserve it (financially weaker section) rather than the already existing financially, socially and culturally sound Dalits who are taking benefits from generation to generation. Under-development of Dalits and Tribal region is the main reason of slow rate of development of India. This is basically due to corruption and poor are the biggest victims of corruption. This is the reason why dissatisfaction is high among the poorer Indians against the government. UPA government needs to realise this. After independence, Dalits are still backward. Who is responsible for this? Congress has ruled this country for a maximum period of time but Dalits are still deprived of their rights. Rahul Gandhi needs to understand that the people of this country are not fools. They are not here to get satisfied with lip services and make false promises. To entertain Dalits, he has also promised maximum representation of Dalits in the upcoming elections. Under him, Congress had been trying to get back the Dalit vote bank which has now shifted to different regional parties over a period of time. Rahul started his efforts much before UP Assembly elections last year. His much hyped stopovers at Dalit villages and homes made national headlines. But despite all that, the party could win only five out of all the 85 reserved constituencies in UP Assembly elections.
Nation is in election fever and promises are done on large scale. Let us see further where Dalit and minority votes will swing this time.