Bengaluru, June 3 (PTI) The Congress in Karnataka on Friday expressed its firm resolve and commitment to protect Muslims and Christians, fight the "cultural terrorism" unleashed by the ruling BJP, and come back to power in the State in the 2023 Assembly polls under a "collective leadership".
The principal opposition party in the State - Congress - which today adopted "Karnataka Declaration" at the end of its two-day 'Nava Sankalpa Shibira' has decided to reserve 50 per cent tickets to leaders aged below 50 in the upcoming local body polls, and to consider extending it to the Assembly polls. The party, at its brainstorming session held on the lines of party's recent Udaipur 'Chintan Shivir', also promises to introduce reservation in the private sector if it comes to power, and would try to bring in reservation in the government sector where there is outsourcing. "The political affairs committee of the party has decided to go for Assembly elections under a collective leadership and come to power," Shivakumar told reporters here. Sharing details of the deliberations that took place for about 12 to 13 hours at the meet, which was attended by about 600 delegates, he said several issues concerning the State and party organisation were discussed and suggestions came in for the party manifesto. "The pride of the State is getting affected and we are committed to protect it, our culture and tradition is being disturbed, even education is being polarised, the State is being defamed internationally. We are committed to restore its legacy and protect it. We will protect all sections, especially Muslims and Christians, facing atrocities and false cases, we stand behind them firmly," he added. Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, too, condemning atrocities and false cases against Muslim and Christians, said the party has resolved to fight the “cultural terrorism” unleashed by the ruling BJP. He targeted the government on the textbook controversy, accusing it of supporting emotive issues being raised in the name of religion and communities, while not focusing on developmental issues. In response to a question on PFI and SDPI, both leaders without taking any names said the party condemns all kinds of communal activities, and such politics, and would fight them. The "Karnataka Declaration" almost resembled what probably would be the party’s manifesto for the next year elections, as it contains many promises the Congress wants to fulfil on coming to power. While promising to reserve 50 per cent of all party positions to those aged below 50, the Congress has decided to try this out in ticket distributions for the local body polls. "In the upcoming Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), zilla and taluk panchayat elections, 50 per cent of the tickets will be given to people below 50. We will consider this for other elections, too," Shivakumar said. Assuring women in organisational positions of 33 per cent reservation, he said all communities and sections would be given representation in mandal and panchayat committees of the party. Several top Congress leaders, including national General secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and former Union Minister Veerappa Moily, took part in the meet. The party had set up six committees - economic affairs and price rise, social justice and empowerment, organisation, farmers and agriculture, youth-women-education and employment and political affairs and AICC programmes implementation - to deliberate at the meet. Congress wants to introduce a NREGA-like scheme in urban areas, comprehensive reforms for the way in which government recruitment is done, and it promised to spend Rs 2 lakh crore in 5 years to complete all irrigation projects on coming to power. "Every year, Rs 40,000 crore will be spent on irrigation, this is our commitment," both Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah said. The party said it would prepare region-specific manifesto for - including Kalyana, Kittur, Bayalu Seeme - Karnataka regions and also for Bengaluru, and formulate programmes aimed at stopping migration, giving impetus to tourism and priority for youth and locals in job creation. Also, the party leaders said it would formulate programmes on arts, housing, environment, forest rights and so on. The 'Karnataka Declaration' document would be out in a couple of days, said the leaders. Speaking about organisational changes, Shivakumar said by June 25, elections would be held to form new committees starting from the booth-level. There would be panchayat committees in rural areas and ward committees in urban areas, he said,adding that these committees would have representation proportional to the population of various castes and social groups. PTI KSU NVG NVG
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