Mumbai: The BJP on Monday alleged that the Congress has made Charanjit Singh Channi Punjab chief minister only for a short tenure to grab Dalit votes as part of its conspiracy.
“This is an old habit of the Congress. It believes that it can capture the Dalit vote bank by making a Dalit chief minister for a few months. A conspiracy is being hatched in Punjab to grab Dalit vote bank,” BJP general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam said.
BJP also attacked the reported statement of Harish Rawat, Congress’ pointsman for handling its Punjab affairs, that the Congress will fight the assembly elections under its state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s leadership.
They cited previous instances of the party giving the key position to a leader from the community for few months.
Congress had made Dalit leader Sushil Kumar Shinde Maharashtra chief minister in 2003 but replaced him with Vilasrao Deshmukh when it won the 2004 assembly election, Gautam noted.
Similarly, they had made Jagannath Pahadia Rajasthan’s chief minister in 1980 but removed him in over a year.
Gautam, also a Dalit leader, alleged that Congress has resorted to this tactic often. He claimed that it often used former deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram to get the votes of the community but “insulted” him and even removed him from the party when it came to giving him his due.
“The Congress has humiliated Dalits innumerable times,” he alleged.
The Congress also never gave B R Ambedkar Bharat Ratna or made a memorial in his name or did anything to preserve his memory, the BJP leader claimed.
Channi, 58, was on Monday sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab, making him the first Dalit to hold the top post in the state. The state of Punjab will go to the polls early next year.