Goraya (Jalandhar): In a first, eyeing the crucial Dalit vote bank in poll-bound state, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that a Dalit leader would be made Deputy Chief Minister, if AAP came to power in Punjab.
Kejriwal also invoked Dr B R Ambedkar and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder president Kanshi Ram’s names, leaving no stone unturned in wooing the Dalits in the heartland of Doaba belt.
The Delhi Chief Minister, in his over 15-minute speech during the release of ‘Dalit Manifesto,’ emphasised over the fact that Dr Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram spoke about equality and participation of Dalits in politics, but no one ever gave them a chance.
Without naming any political party, Kejriwal said, “Till date, no party ever gave a chance of ‘political leadership’ at a top post to Dalits. AAP would be the first such party to not only release a separate ‘Dalit Manifesto’ for this community in the country, but also announce the post of Deputy CM to a Dalit.”
Amidst a thumping response to this announcement, Kejriwal also said that a Dalit Deputy CM actually meant more responsibilities. “A Dalit Deputy CM would provide justice to dalits and ensure that during all promises announced in the manifesto were fulfilled within five years,” he added. Further, the AAP national convener also raised the burning issue of farmer suicides and said that within one to two years, loans of farmers would be waived off. He also said that on the lines of Delhi government, state-of-the-art government schools would be set up in Punjab. “I was informed that out of 18 lakh students studying in government schools, 14 lakh were Dalits. In a life of penury, Dalits were forced to send their children to government schools with no basic facility of even toilets,” he said.
Kejriwal also maintained that AAP government in Punjab would uplift government schools at par with private schools with modern amenities. “In Delhi, people were admitting their children in government schools which were upgraded with swimming pools and lifts. We would replicate the same model in Punjab,” he added.
He also announced to set up Mohalla Clinics in villages, promising quality medical facility to poor and Dalits. “Dalits would get free X-ray, MRI, ultrasound and other important tests facility free in the Mohalla clinics,” he maintained.
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