Sending a message of ‘justice for dalit’ in the dalit bastion -Doaba belt, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday, sought immediate arrest of SAD leader Virsa Singh Valtoha, for his caste slur against party’s Dalit leader MLA Tarlochan Singh Soond, in ‘shoegate’ incident.
Capt Amarinder said that Congress will stage statewide protests at block level on Sunday to protest against Valtoha and press for his immediate arrest. PPCC president also termed MLA Tarlochan Singh Soond’s ‘shoegate’ episode as ‘right’ and said that he was hurt by castiest remarks made by Valtoha against him.
“We strongly condemn SAD leader Valtoha’s castiest remarks. While Valtoha passed castiest remarks, no action was taken against him. If anyone else had made such a remark, he would have been immediately arrested, why not Valtoha”, Capt Amarinder said, adding that Valhota was a serial offender and had claimed himself to be a terrorist in the Vidhan Sabha.
Addressing a press conference, PPCC chief accompanied by AICC in charge for Punjab Asha Kumari, Campaign Committee Chairperson Ambika Soni, AICC Secretary Harish Chaudhary and Tarlochan Soond also said that even the role of Vidhan Sabha speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal was condemnable.
“Despite being a Dalit himself, he summarily dismissed Soond’s complaint without even ordering an inquiry. Even other Dalit SAD-BJP leaders also turned a blind eye towards castiest remarks, as they were more concerned about tickets ahead of the assembly elections”, he said.Though Capt Amarinder demanded that the recording of Vidhan Sabha should be made public but he did not rule out the tampering of the recording at the behest of the Akalis.
Further, answering a query on the ‘shoegate’ episode, the PPCC president said that while nobody approved of hurling a shoe at anyone, what happened in the Vidhan Sabha was a reaction to a provocation of a community against castiest remarks by Valtoha.The former Chief Minister also said that people like Valtoha were deliberately propped by the Badals to intimidate the dalits and the minorities. Capt Amarinder also apprehended that with over 52 gangs active in the state, assembly elections in Punjab would be ‘violent’.
On ticket allotment, Capt Amarinder said that 1600 candidates have applied and the process of screening the applications was going on. He said, the specific dockets for the purpose provided by the AICC were currently being filled up and these will be submitted to the AICC soon. “The final authority was with the congress president”, he said.
Issue of SYL canal
Capt Amarinder said that party leaders will tender mass resignations, if decision goes against Punjab. However, he said that after coming to power, Congress will again bring a new act to declare centre’s decision on SYL as ‘null and void’ on the lines of Punjab Termination of Waters Act 2004.
‘Awaz-E-Punjab, a Tonga party’
Capt Amarinder took a dig at newly formed ‘Awaz-E-Punjab’ and termed it as ‘Tonga Party’. “Two people sit in the front while two sit behind in a Tonga. Al that they have is four people ex BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, SAD MLA Pargat Singh and Bains brothers.”
Candidate for Jalandhar Cantt seat
He said that Jagbir Brar was his first choice for Jalandhar Cantonment seat, leaving other ticket aspirants Amarjit Singh Samra and Tejinder Singh Bittu in a shock. “I will be foolish, if I considered somebody else instead of Brar from Jalandhar Cantonment seat”, he said. Brar was seen heaving a sigh of relief, after hearing these words from Capt Amarinder.
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