The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Sunday marked the 35th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh with a social justice conference where several political parties raised demands for an equality commission and a caste census.
The resolution, which was presented by former Union Minister Srikant Jena, said a true tribute to Chaudhary Charan Singh would be attempt to provide practical solutions to the problems of unemployment, agricultural distress and the lack of a voice. Mr. Jena proposed the establishment of a new economic policy that would focus on job creation instead of wealth creation; undertaking a caste census to be held immediately to enable “targeted affirmative action for those communities that have been left behind”; setting up a social justice commission or an equal opportunities commission to analyse the caste census data and recommend affirmative action for public and private sectors; and a “regional balance commission”.
RLD national president and Chaudhary Charan Singh’s grandson, Jayant Chaudhary, said it was important to hold social justice programmes across States.
“It is sad that we have to hold a programme on social justice so many years after Independence and talk of public awareness campaigns… It is a Constitutional right,” he said.
He said while there were separate commissions for Scheduled Castes, OBCs and minorities, there was a need for the communities to unite .
The RLD’s call found support from RJD leader Sharad Yadav, JDU leader K.C. Tyagi, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, CPI(M) leader Subhasini Ali, former Delhi Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri, Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, RJD MP Manoj Jha, TIPRA chief Pradyot Manikya Deb Barman, Apna Dal (K) leader Krishna Patel and Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Sharad Yadav said the country was in trouble today and “such a situation wasn’t there during the Emergency”. He said the Opposition was divided and there was a need for a mass leader like Chaudhary Charan Singh today.