The Scheduled Castes (SC) wing of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Pathankot district, a BJP stronghold, is feeling “powerless”, according to its chief Raman Kumar at a meeting before the party chief and state deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday at Punjab Bhawan. “I have been raising this issue for long now. We have no say in the district,” said Kumar.
“I have been requesting that party should ensure that officers like Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police and Sub Divisional Magistrate should entertain us in a proper manner. We have no say in getting blue cards made of deserving people recommended by us.
There is huge discrimination in terms of getting tubewell connections for our (SAD) supporters as well. It is fine with us that if we are not treated equally, but at least we deserve that we be allowed to have our way in at least 25 per cent of the works.” Raman, when contacted on Friday, said not much attention was paid to grievances raised by him.
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SAD SC wing chief and cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, said, “Sometimes there is some factionalism. But, since we (BJP and SAD) are allies , we will have to go along with each other. I have told the local party leadership of the wing to approach me if they face any hurdles. I will myself get their work done.”
Another SC leader leader of party’s wing also raised the issue that “well to do people” were also getting the benefits under Atta Dal scheme. Ranike said anomalies were observed earlier where there were cases that “non-deserving” people were getting the benefits. “We have addressed that and would continue to address if there are any such anomalies,” he added.
Pathankot’s three assembly constituencies are represented by BJP legislators. Bhoa legislator is Seema Kumari, who was recently elevated to the position of Chief Parliamentary Secretary. Sujanpur constituency as legislators is represented by Dinesh Singh Babbu, who is the deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and Pathankot is represented by former state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma.