Bhubaneswar, Sep 25:
In its bid to reclaim its traditional Dalit vote base, which has been successfully weaned away by the ruling BJD, particularly in the recently concluded urban polls, Congress is embarking on an exercise to identify Dalit leaders at the grassroots level through a meticulous election process.
“Our first challenge is to identify dedicated and passionate Dalit leaders, who will work for the party. We will work with a vision and mission to nurture committed and passionate Dalit leaders at all levels, who would help other Dalits to access their rights and entitlements. The idea is to identify such leaders, train them and put them in positions of responsibility,” said K Raju, chairman of the Scheduled Castes cell of the Congress.
The leaders will be trained at the panchayat level to highlight the welfare schemes of the central government.
Though the party already has a formal structure in states, Dalit leaders have no clear brief on how to go about their task. The central leadership appoints chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and general secretaries of Scheduled Castes cells at the state level. These leaders, in-turn, appoint the leaders at the next tiers at the district and block levels. However, the SC cell of the Congress in Odisha is virtually defunct and has no activities in the state.