Congress should give more representation to Dalits: Rahul

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) Reaching out to the Dalits with assembly and Lok Sabha elections approaching, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday said they should be given greater representation in the party.

Addressing a function of the Bhagwan Valmiki Foundation here, Gandhi described the Valmiki Samaj as the "reed ki haddi" or spine of the Congress party and said whatever the party does for the Dalit society is not enough.

"The more representation you give them in the Congress party, it is not enough. These people are the spine of the Congress party and we must do more for them," said Gandhi.

As slogans of "Rahul Gandh' zindabad" rang out, the Congress vice president said enumerated the legislation brought by the United Progressive Alliance government, including on the right to education, food security, the rural employment guarantee scheme and the RTI.

He said earlier the slogan of the Congress was that "we shall sleep on half empty stomachs but vote for the Congress" and now it will be "Bhar pet kayenge aur Congress ko vote deyenge (Will sleep on full stomachs and vote for Congress)" due to the food security act brought recently.

He attacked the opposition, saying it had never bothered to "hold the hands of the poor or interact with them".

"Congress is the party for the poor, our opposition does not understand the problems of the poor. They don't go to their homes and hold their hands or discuss their problems," he said.

"And then they speak of India Shining. And lose the polls. They lost it in 2004, in 2009 and will lose again in 2014," said the Gandhi scion.

"If you want to win elections, go to the homes of the poor and hold their hands and then go and win the elecitons," said Gandhi.

Earlier at a separate event, Rahul Gandhi criticised Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.

"In the second stage of the Dalit movement, the production of leaders stopped, Mayawati-ji has captured the leadership and she does not let people come up," Gandhi said while addressing a national awareness camp on Scheduled Caste empowerment here.

"Though it is her personal choice, it is a great time for Congress party who has a history of working for Dalits," he added.

The Congress vice president also said that the Congress party, in a systematic manner, will have Dalit leaders at the panchayat, legislative and even the policy level.

--Indo-Asian News service

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