Parties go all out to woo Dalits in state

dalit-watch-Apr-16-10Chandigarh: Political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo Dalits in Punjab, with the BJP’s decision to appoint Doaba-based Dalit leader Vijay Sampla as the state party chief being the latest move aimed at this key vote bank.

Dalits have a 32 per cent share in the state’s population, while 34 of Punjab’s 117 Assembly constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Castes.

A few weeks ago, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal visited Dera Sachkhand Ballan, a revered religious place for Dalits, near Jalandhar. During his visit, Kejriwal had also met close relatives of the late Kanshi Ram, founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh has also visited Dera Ballan. Recently, he addressed a gathering of representatives of the Valmiki community in Jalandhar. The induction of Sufi singer-turned politician Hans Raj Hans, who belongs to this community, into the party is also part of the woo-Dailt strategy.

Early this week, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal laid the foundation stone of Guru Ravidass Memorial at Khuralgarh in Hoshiarpur district. In the 2012 Assembly elections, Dalits had played a crucial role in enabling the SAD-BJP combine to retain power. The Atta-Dal scheme launched for Dalits had worked in the alliance’s favour.

Source: The Tribune

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