March 28, 2021 9:51:40 am
Ahead of the Assembly elections due early next year, the Congress government in Punjab has issued a notification to set up Brahmin Welfare Board — the first time that such a body will be formed in the state where Sikhs are in a majority.
The notification to form the seven-member board was issued Friday late by Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities after approval from Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore.
As per the notification, the board would be “identifying the needs and problems of the Brahmin Samaj” and “suggest measures for their redressal.” It will “act as a link between the community and the government for planning and implementation of programmes and policies for social, economic and educational upliftment of the Brahmin Samaj and help strengthen mutual ties, social justice, empowerment and the peaceful co-existence among various sections of the society.”
The term of the board, having headquarters in Chandigarh, would be two years and it would meet once in six months, as per the notification.
Calling it a totally political decision and taking a jibe at the ruling Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “People first serve the Brahmins during a ‘bhoj’. This government, in its fifth year, however, is feeding the leftover to Brahmins.”
“It is a totally political decision,” said Cheema, adding that “it takes a long time for a board to start functioning…appointments have to be made, office and furniture has to be provided and there are many things before a board starts functioning.”
Senior BJP leader and former minister Madan Mohan Mittal too lashed out at the Capt Amarinder Singh-led government, accusing it of indulging in caste politics. “Congress has been shaken from its roots and has stooped to indulge in caste politics. But, the way Hindus have been isolated in the state, the Congress can never get the support of the community,” said Mittal, adding that “the (the state government) have done it thinking that they would create a Brahmin lobby, but this would not happen.”
Shree Brahmin Sabha Punjab president Devi Dayal Prashar termed the move to set up the board as an “election stunt”. “This is all election stunt. We are not against setting up of a board for the welfare of Brahmins, but we want to know what would be the source of its income and what would be the duty of the chairman,” he asked.
Prashar said during SAD-BJP government in the state, a delegation of Brahmin Sabha had met then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal with a representation to set up Brahmin Welfare Board. “Out of 40 lakh Brahmins in the state, the earnings of priests or those who work in small temples or who were from outside the state is very less. In the representation, we had pointed out that the board could mitigate such issues. Sukhbir Badal had assured to set up the board, but it was not done.” Prashar said. He said that after Congress came to power, the government “did not give funds to Bhagwan Parshuram Chair which was set up at Punjabi University Patiala when [Akali patriarch] Parkash Singh Badal was the CM.”
“Now, after four years how come this government has woken up to the plight of Brahmins in the state?” he asked.
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