The Congress Party is working out different tactics to woo Punjab’s Dalit voters who constitute 32 percent of the state’s voters. Its workers are said to have started off establishing contacts with Dalit families to figure out their problems and their expectations.
In its latest attempt to reach out to Dalits, the Congress has announced that it would reserve 33 percent of chairmanships of the state-run corporations and boards for Dalits once the party is elected to power. Earlier this year in February, the Congress party held a seminar in Ludhiana on issues facing the Dalits, to convey the message of party’s seriousness towards Dalits.
“Congress alone has watched and safeguarded the interests of the Dalits and we assure that 33 per cent chairmanships will be provided to the Dalits,” said Punjab Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh, adding that all communities will get due representation in ticket distribution.
In a recently held ‘Dalit Outreach’ programme organised by the Scheduled Caste Cell of the party in Chandigarh, the Congress leaders alleged that the ruling Akali-BJP government has discriminated and victimised the Dalits. They added that they had found that Dalits were not even being provided with the blue cards under the Food Security Act.
Capt. Singh has promised that the Congress government will increase the Shagun scheme to Rs 51,000 and Dalit households will be provided 300 units of power free.
Through its Dalit contact programme, Congress aims to win their hearts in the state’s 217 constituencies.