Cong alone well-wisher of dalits: Digvijay

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Lucknow, Aug 10 (UNI) In a sharp rejoinder to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's claim of being the only well-wisher of dalits, the Congress today said whatever had so far been done for dalit welfare was done by them only.

Ms Mayawati may make hollow claims of doing great service in the field of dalit welfare, but the fact would always remain that the Congress had been the only pro-dalit political party in the country, Congress general secretary and in-charge of UP affairs Digvijay Singh said here.

Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day state executive of the party, he said Ms Mayawati may take pride in calling herself as 'dalit ki Beti' (Daughter of a dalit) to gain sympathy for the sake of votes, but there was hardly anything worthwhile she had done in favour of dalits.

In fact, the entire inaugural session had Ms Mayawati as the prime target with UPCC president Reeta Bahuguna Joshi, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari, party MP Jitin Prasad and other senior leaders coming down heavily on her comments made during the BSP's national convention yesterday.

In his 45-minute speech, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh said it was Mahatma Gandhi who had launched the drive against 'untouchability' in 1920. It was followed by some pro-active measures taken by the Congress to improve the lot of dalits and downtrodden class of society, he said.

He said it was again the Congress which entrusted Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar with the task of drafting the constitution. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were instrumental in getting Ambedkar in among the constitution makers, he claimed.

Mr Singh said all the claims of Ms Mayawati were meaningless in view of the another vital fact that reservations to SC and ST was started by the Congress and later after 1971, the Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had made provisions for reservation in medical and engineering colleges.

Taking a swipe at BSP supremo, the Congress leader said Ms Mayawati had no time to think about dalits as she was too busy to build 'palaces' for herself and getting her statues installed.

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