The Indian National Congress’ Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) department is building a national data bank of legal cases and social incidents concerning the SC and ST communities across states in the country. The building of this data bank is part of the party’s “Save the Constitution” campaign that was announced by Congress president Rahul Gandhi last week. The SC/ST department is in the process of appointing a research and development team along with a national coordination team which will be responsible for developing this data bank.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Dr Nitin Raut, newly appointed chairman of the SC/ST department, said, “The purpose of creating this data bank is to centralise the information and take it to the people to create awareness about the challenges that the Valmiki people face.”
As part of its year-long “Save the Constitution” campaign, Congress workers will be visiting districts and using the data bank to inform the general public of various community cases. Given that the campaign has started in the aftermath of the upheaval caused by the Supreme Court’s recent order in the Prevention of Atrocities Act and will strategically end in April 2019, when the general elections will be round the corner, Congress will have ample time to reaffirm its position among the Dalit community. Eyeing its Dalit vote bank for general elections, the Congress has set its boat sailing with three crucial events organised within a month since the appointment of the new chairman of the party’s SC/ST department. Starting with the hunger strike, then Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations and last week’s launch of the “Save the Constitution” campaign, the SC/ST department is strategically expanding its operations.
Though party workers have reportedly emphasised on the need of Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to directly interact with district leaders to hear their challenges in order to form a perfect strategy, the interaction privilege between the party high command and workers seems only channelled through department heads so far.
Meanwhile, new appointments and single-sentence farewells to the outgoing position holders are rampant in All India Congress Committee (AICC) since Rahul Gandhi’s crowning as the new president who has been steadily bringing in new people to key positions. Raut, whose appointment is only 20 days old, said, “My predecessor Rajaji still acts as the department’s mentor just like Sonia Gandhi, who is not the president of Congress now, but still participates in decision making.”
Raut added, “I hardly had 18 days after my appointment to prepare for an event as big as last week’s convention in Talkatora Stadium. This stadium has been booked earlier for AICC’s events, but this time, it was booked solely for a department’s event. That shows our commitment to the SC/ST department’s cause. Rahul Gandhi has been consistent about its emphasis on result-based initiatives; that is how we are strategising now.”