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Why no Dalit on Lokpal Bill draft panel, asks Maya

April 22, 2011 20:33 IST
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, who also heads India's foremost political outfit of dalits -- Bahujan Samaj Party -- on Friday chose to taken on both the UPA government and the civil society for not including a Dalit on the Jan Lokpal Bill draft committee.

At a hurriedly convened press conference in Lucknow, Mayawati raised the demand for inclusion of a member of the Dalit community on the committee.

Significantly, she also urged the committee to distance itself from such members whose integrity was under doubt.

"Both the Congress-led UPA government and the civil society were equally responsible for not bothering to give due representation to a member of the Scheduled Caste community on the all important Jan Lokpal Bill draft committee," said Mayawati.

Without mincing words, she did not even spare activist Anna Hazare from sharing that responsibility.

"What was even more shocking that even someone like Anna Hazare, who was spearheading the movement against rising corruption in the country, did not care to ensure inclusion of a Dalit on the committee. After all he hails from Maharastra which gave birth to the greatest Dalit icon Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, who led several movements for the upliftment of the downtrodden dalits."

She lamented, "The UPA government had nominated its senior  ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid on the draft committee and the civil society was represented by Anna Hazare, Justice Santosh Hegde , Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan , but
I would like to ask them if there was not a single dalit in this country who could be considered worthy of nomination on the august committee."

"While the Congress party is always ready to play gimmicks to fool dalits , but whenever it comes to brass tacks, the party leadership chooses to conveniently overlook the larger interest of Dalits," she alleged , while adding, "and that clearly reflects the anti-Dalit mindset of the Congress leaders."

She further sought to point out that she was not interested in a having any Dalit politician on the committee. "I would like to urge the government and the civil society to nominate a non-political person from the Scheduled Caste community to  be nominated on the draft committee ; I am sure there are many who could foot the bill."

Claiming  that  her own government was fully committed to stamping out corruption , the UP chief minister asserted, "I am aware how corruption and criminalization of  politics had eaten into the roots of Uttar Pradesh. But thanks to the complacent attitude of previous governments that both corruption and criminalization of politics had extended its tentacles  across the state."

While attributing  corruption as the root cause behind the murder of some government officials including the two chief medical officers over the recent past, she sought to reassure, "but we are determined to not only bring the guilty to book but to also wage a full fledged war against corruption as well as criminalization of politics."  
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow