Wooing Dalits: Now panel to study Madigas’ demands

Bengaluru: With Assembly polls approaching, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday convened a meeting of Dalit leaders of the Congress to discuss the strategy to woo the community in the forthcoming polls. It was decided at the meeting to constitute an expert committee to look into the demand of the Madiga community among Dalits for implementation of the Justice Sadashiva Commission report.

This has become a headache for Siddaramaiah as his own cabinet colleague and social welfare minister, H. Anjaneya has been raking up the Madiga issue every now and then in the last two years. 

Mr Anjaneya and former Union minister, K. H. Muniyappa who belong to the Madiga community, want the Sadashiva Commission report to be implemented to catapult themselves as the strongest Madiga leaders in the party. However, the party has always received solid backing of the Chalawadi community among Dalits all these years, who are against Mr Anjaneya and Mr Muniyappa’s overtures. 

So Congress leaders including Mr Siddaramaiah have developed cold feet on implementing the report, which recommends reservation in a way to divide these two sizeable communities. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, which was postponed twice earlier, a leader disclosed that Mr Siddaramaiah requested Dalit community leaders not to rake up this issue until elections were over as it would damage the party’s prospects substantially. “Based on his request, Dalit leaders unanimously resolved that the state government should constitute an expert committee to look into the demands of Madigas, which is seeking reservation within the quota for Dalits,” the source said.


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