Congress manifesto

New Delhi: The Congress will any day announce a new scheme for Dalits, OBCs and Muslims, which it will promise to implement if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha election of 2019. This announcement in the party manifesto will be close on the heels of the election promise of minimum income plan in the name of Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY).

Under this plan, according to sources, the judiciary, especially the upper courts, will need to have adequate representation of these sections of society — with coordination and consent of judges rather than through reservation — which would be legislated if the Congress were to form the next government.

According to sources, on 26 March, the party’s top policymaking unit, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), gave a green signal to the announcement, while agreeing with several other suggestions for the Scheduled Castes, Tribes, OBCs and minority groups. P Chidambaram chaired this meeting.

The Congress is likely to release its manifesto on 2 April.

How Congress is making its manifesto

A senior party leader present at the meeting said, “At the CWC meeting, it was agreed that the representation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs should be ensured in the judiciary, and especially in the upper courts. There is a complete possibility that this promise will find a place in the manifesto.”

When asked what the party would do to ensure this representation, the leader said, “It was suggested that, with coordination and consent of the judiciary, the judicial appointment commission or some other mechanism should be constituted. We fully agreed that there should be no impact on the independence and autonomy of the judiciary in this manner.”

The Narendra Modi government had taken a similar initiative through the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act-2014 but the Supreme Court had terminated it as unconstitutional.

The Congress leader said, “In the manifesto, other promises can be made for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC sections. For instance, there is an agreement on giving houses or plots to those who do not have a roof over their heads.”

Congress leaders had sent a number of suggestions to the party’s manifesto committee a few weeks ago. It followed, a source said, discussions with various intellectuals, social workers and institutions of society.

Their ideas include reservation in the private sector, reservation in promotion, properly implementing existing reservation system in all States and central government institutions and departments, arranging plots and housing and preventing caste oppression of people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes at workplaces The suggestions for making effective arrangements are prominent.