Cong plans rally to woo SC, STs ahead of polls 

The Congress party, with an eye on its once traditional votebank the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, is gearing itself to organise a State-level convention of these communities in September.

The party has decided to invite AICC chief Sonia Gandhi to preside over the convention, likely to be held in Bangalore.

A decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the office bearers of the party’s SC/ST wing, AICC members, legislators and senior leaders in the city on Thursday. The meeting, presided over by KPCC president G Parameshwara, also discussed measures to woo the SC/ST communities to face the next elections.

It is said Parameshwara, who himself is an SC leader, told the meeting that to tackle the many issues surrounding these communities within the party, a mega convention had to be organised.  In the 2008 Assembly elections, the BJP cut into the Congress’ traditional vote base. Of the 51 reserved seats (both SC and ST), the Congress could bag only 14 constituencies. The migration of ‘touchables’ like Lambanis and Bhovis to the BJP has the Congress worried. The issue came to the fore during the SC/ST leaders’ meet.

Former union minister V Srinivas Prasad, MLA and SC leader, said there was lack of coordination among the communities, which was widening the divide among the leaders.
Addressing the party workers at a programme organised to mark the anniversary of the Quit India movement, Parameshwara said the countdown for the elections had begun.

He added that there were suggestions that only one member in a family should be given tickets. Also, the general opinion is that candidates who lost the polls more than thrice and those who had secured less than 20,000 votes should not be given tickets.  As many as 12 AICC observers, who were in the State studying the trend, have returned to Delhi with their report on candidate selection. It is also not clear whether all the 71 sitting MLAs would be given tickets.

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