Eyeing the Dalit votes before the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other senior SAD and BJP leaders presented themselves as the only “votary to safeguard the rights of the underprivileged”.
Dalits form close to 40 per cent of the population in the state and every political party is trying to win their support.
At the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Guru Ravidass Memorial at Khuralgarh village, located in a sub-mountainous belt of backward ‘Beet area’, the chief minister appealed to the people to help in abrogating the shams of various social evils.
- Mayawati’s BSP says it holds “key” to next government in MP
- In Jalandhar, RSS chief meets Sangh leaders from three states
- In 2019, even if BJP gets 220-240 seats, Narendra Modi will run govt: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale
- Punjab elections 2017: CM Parkash Singh Badal spends generously on war memorials and monuments
- BSP founder’s anniversary: Arvind Kejriwal welcome, Mayawati enemy No 1, says Kanshi Ram’s sister in Punjab
- Inside Dera Sachkhand
The place is associated with Guru Ravidass who is said to have spent over four years here in pursuit of spiritualism.
“Daj-Dahej, Jaat te Nasheiyan nu smaj chon Chukko (remove the dowry, casteism and drugs like social evils from the society),” he said.
He admitted that the memorial took a long time going. “But every work has its own time,” he added. The project has been delayed by six months.
Calling the Guru a great exponent of Bhakti movement, the chief minister said the memorial would be an architectural marvel, having a hall with a capacity to accommodate 10,000 pilgrims and a state-of-the-art auditorium equipped with all the modern audio-visual aids to showcase the life and works of the Guru.
“The auditorium will accommodate nearly 500 pilgrims during any function or event. The hallmark of this world-class memorial would be a 151-feet high ‘Minar-e-Begampura’,” he said.
Calling his government “a votary of the weak and underprivileged”, he said his government launched atta dal, Shagun, pension and post-matric scholarship schemes, meritorious schools for poor and oppressed sections of society.
Attacking the Congress, he said, “They had exploited this section as their votebank but never bothered to do anything tangible for their growth and prosperity.”
He handed over a grant of Rs 2 crore to Anandita Mitra, Deputy Commissioner Hoshiarpur, to spruce up Khuralgarh and Bassi villages.