September 27, 2021 3:47:43 am
Doaba, which is the smallest of the three regions of the state and accounts for 23 of the total 117 Vidhan Sabha seats, is politically crucial for any party aspiring to come to power in the state.
Doaba has also got the highest proportion of Dalit population not only in Punjab. but across the country. But in the past over four-and-half year rule of the Congress, no Dalit MLA has ever found representation in the Punjab Cabinet from Doaba, even though the Cabinet was rejigged thrice.
On Sunday, three Dalit ministers were sworn in under the new Cabinet, none of who belong to Doaba. While Punjab has a 31.9% Dalit population (according to the 2011 census), the Doaba region has a 38% Dalit population.
In Captain Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet, which was formed in 2017, there were two ministers from the Doaba region — Rana Gurjeet Singh from Kapurthala, and Sunder Sham Arora from Hoshiarpur — neither of who was a Dalit. When Rana Gurjeet Singh was dropped in January 2018, after his name appeared in the infamous sand mining contract scam, people from Doaba hoped that the Captain will compensate and include another minister from the region, preferably a Dalit, when he expanded his Cabinet later in April 2018. However, that was not to be.
On Sunday, the new CM Channi, picked three ministers from Doaba — Pargat Singh and Rana Gurjeet Singh (both general category), and Sangat Singh Gilzian, who belongs from Backward Class.
In Doaba region, there are eight reserved constituencies out of a total of 23. On the eight reserve seats of the region, five are represented by Congress MLAs, all of who are first-time winners, which effectively cut out their chances of making it to the new Cabinet.
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