BENGALURU: The opposition BJP in the state is gearing up to take on the ruling Congress over the supposed diversion for SC/ST welfare funds for implementing its guarantees while also trying to woo the SC and ST communities ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha election.
It is said that the government is looking at diverting Rs 11,000 crore from the SC/ST welfare funds for implementing its guarantees. The BJP will be looking to make use of the issue to overcome the setbacks it had suffered after its government had announced internal reservation just ahead of the Assembly polls.
The BJP SC and ST morchas will stage protests in all districts from Thursday and create awareness among the people. The party hopes to hit two birds with one stone — attack the government while wooing the SC and ST communities.
The Congress has maintained that the SC/ST welfare funds have not been misused and said that it is being given to beneficiaries of the two communities who are eligible for the guarantee schemes. While defending the government’s decision, the Congress has claimed that the BJP’s allegations are baseless and have been levelled with a political motive.
The BJP, on the other hand, has claimed that Rs 11,000 crore from the SCSP-TSP funds are being misused for political gains. Rule 7D of the SCSP-TSP was scrapped to prevent misuse of funds and they are meant to be utilised only for special schemes. The government is doing injustice to the Dalit community by utilising the funds for its guarantee schemes. The government should raise separate funds for implementation of the guarantees, the BJP insists.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference today at the party office, BJP MLA Chalavadi Narayanaswamy accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of being anti-Dalit. “Siddaramaiah himself had said 24.1 per cent of funds should be set aside for Dalit welfare, but now his government is utilising the money to fund the guarantees”, he pointed out.
“Siddaramaiah has stolen money meant for Dalits. The Congress formed a government by lying and now they are pinning the blame on the BJP and the people. The government should ensure financial security, health and education for all, not these free bhagyas”, Chalavadi Narayanaswamy said.
Alleging that the Congress is a party of frauds, Narayanaswamy said Siddaramaiah is trampling upon Dalits, aided ably by ministers H C Mahadevappa and Priyank Kharge. Comparing Siddaramaiah to a butcher, he said Mahadevappa and Priyank Kharge were supporting the CM in the effort.
Stating that Dalit leaders in the Congress had become “voiceless and spineless”, he said that they cannot muster courage even when wrongs are committed. He also alleged that some Dalit organisations had struck a ‘package deal’ with the government not to stage protests.
“Some Dalit groups feel what the Congress says is the absolute truth. They should set aside political affiliations and fight for their rights”, Chalavadi Narayanaswamy added.