Congress skipped meet to select new CIC as he is Dalit, it also opposed tribal as Prez: PM

Congress skipped meet to select new CIC as he is Dalit, it also opposed tribal as Prez: PM

Sidhi (MP), Nov 7 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the Congress, saying it skipped the meeting convened to select the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) as he is a Dalit and this reflected the anti-Scheduled Castes mindset of the main opposition party.

Addressing an election rally in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh which will vote on November 17, Modi alleged the Congress keeps abusing him everyday, and slammed the party for having an 'anti-adivasi mindset' as he cited its opposition to the candidature of the country's first tribal woman President Droupadi Murmu last year.

The PM's attack on the Congress came two days after the main opposition party claimed it was 'kept in the dark' over selection of new Chief Information Commissioner Heeralal Samariya, the first Dalit to have been appointed to the post.

“The Congress has only one job -- to hurl abuses at Modi day and night. By this, they are abusing Other Backward Classes,” remarked Modi, who belongs to an OBC community.

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) works for the welfare of Dalits, tribals and OBCs.

“The BJP respects the aspirations of Dalits, tribals and OBCs. You all must have read newspapers that today reported a Dalit has become the Chief Information Commissioner. I was in Delhi. I cancelled my election tour and reached Delhi (for CIC's swearing-in),” he added.

“We have made a Dalit from Rajasthan CIC for the first time. The Congress was suppose to attend the meeting (where CIC's name was to be finalised), but it did not come. They were informed well in advance (about the meet), had a talk over the phone (with them). But knowing that a Dalit is going to be made its (Information Commission) chief, they boycotted the meeting,” Modi alleged.

The PM maintained the Congress has nothing but dislike for Dalits and adivasis.

“They hate Dalits. When we made a tribal the president of the country they opposed her candidature. When Dalit was appointed the CIC, they opposed him, too. Thereafter, they spread lies just to gain sympathy,” stated Modi in a sharp attack on the country's oldest political party.

Congress Lok Sabha MP and a member of the selection committee for appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in a letter to President Murmu, has claimed he was “kept in the dark” about the selection of Samariya as the new CIC.

Former IAS officer Samariya was on Monday sworn in as the CIC by President Murmu.

The CIC and Information Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee headed by the PM. The panel also comprises the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha (in this case the leader of the largest opposition party - that is Congress) and a Union minister nominated by the PM.

'Despite getting an invitation in advance for attending the swearing-in ceremony of the country's first Dalit CIC, the Congress failed to attend it. This reflects its anti-Dalit mindset,' Modi stated.

The PM said after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, its government stopped all scams and money that was saved is being used to provide free ration to more than 80 crore poor people and for financing welfare schemes for them.

'A sum of Rs 13,000 crore is being spent on 'PM Vishwakarma' scheme targeted at traditional artisans and craftspeople,' said the BJP's star campaigner.

Modi said his government was developing a major solar power facility in the Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh.

'When the Congress was in power for 10 years (2004-2014), its government indulged in corruption, but after the BJP came to power, it stopped all those scams and saved a lot of money and utilised it to provide free ration to over 80 crore poor people during the COVID-19 period,' Modi said.

The free ration scheme, which was to end next month, has been extended for five years, he said.

The PM said under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana, Rs 2.07 lakh crore had been directedly deposited into the bank accounts of farmers without any leakage.

Madhya Pradesh will vote in a single phase to elect a new 230-member assembly and counting will take place on December 3. PTI LAL MAS VT NP RSY

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