It’s Congress’s ‘lip service’ to idea of Dalit empowerment: BJP

Congress had replaced Dalit CMs ruled by it with those from other communities after it returned to power in those States, it says

The BJP on Monday attacked the Congress for its alleged ‘lip service’ to the idea of Dalit empowerment. This followed Congress in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat’s statement that the Assembly polls campaign would be under the State unit chief Navjot Siddhu.

The Congress on Sunday replaced Captain (retd.) Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister with Charanjeet Singh Channi, who has become the State’s first Dalit Sikh Chief Minister.

BJP MP and national secretary Vinod Sonkar recounted instances where the Congress had replaced Dalit Chief Ministers of the States ruled by it with those from other communities after it returned to power in those States.

“The Congress mentality with regard to Dalits has been exposed by Harish Rawat’s statement. The party has made Mr. Channi the Chief Minister with only six months left for the polls, and Mr. Rawat then says that Mr. Siddhu will be the face of the campaign. In 2004, they did the same to Sushil Kumar Shinde in Maharashtra, where they made him Chief Minister in the last few months, and after winning the polls under his leadership, replaced him with Vilas Rao Deshmukh. In Rajasthan too, in 1980, they made Jagannath Pahadia the Chief Minister with only one year to go for the polls, and when they won the polls, they replaced him with Shiv Charan Mathur,” he said.

The Congress itself clarified Mr. Rawat’s statement later. AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said Mr. Rawat’s quotes were “misrepresented” and that both Mr. Channi and Mr. Siddhu would be the face of the campaign, one representing the party and the other the government.

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