Caste, religion column finds its way in Congress office bearers list

June 23rd, 2009 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 23 (IANS) A facsimile from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) allotting senior positions in the party’s state hierarchy allegedly on the basis of caste and religion has sparked a controversy in the state Congress unit.
The cause for the controversy is a column titled ‘community’, adjoining the names of the six newly appointed office bearers. The column specifically mentions the religion and caste of the officials, along with their designation and area of operation.

A copy of the facsimile is available with IANS.

Newly appointed Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) secretaries Pravin Kunkolienkar and Gurudas Natekar have been categorised as ‘Hindu Saraswat’ and ‘Hindu Maratha’, respectively. The new vice presidents Kanta Gawde and Vithoba Desai have respectively been slotted under ‘Hindu ST (Scheduled Tribes)’ and ‘Hindu minority’ categories.

“The honourable Congress president has been pleased to approve the following list of additional office bearers,” GPCC general secretary B.K. Hariprasad said.

However, some Congressmen have called the list of officials a not too subtle manifestation of the party’s penchant for caste and religion over commitment and integrity when it comes to inner party functioning.

“The party high command has not done well in making caste and religion a criteria for promotion within the party. How different are we from the communal BJP or other regional parties which thrive on caste politics,” a member said.

Speaking to reporters, GPCC president Subhash Shirodkar said the reference to caste and religion was not an accident and that it was in concurrence with the Congress policy of inclusion of all sections of society within the party.

“There is surely no mistake. We give every information about prospective office bearers to the high command… they decide whom to choose according to their wisdom,” Shirodkar said.

The state party president further insisted that the presence of the caste and religion column was intentional.

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