With an eye on the Dalit community at a time of polls, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday celebrated the 128th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar at Jalandhar’s Dalit-dominated Buta Mandi area. It also accused the Congress and its candidate of “disrespecting” Dr Ambedkar, so they had “no right” to ask the community for votes.
Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the party has shown Dr Ambedkar “disrespect” by ignoring his birth anniversary. He also lashed out at Congress candidate Chaudhary Santokh Singh, saying that in 1952, then Congress stalwarts like Gurbanta Singh, his late father, had greeted Baba Sahib in Jalandhar with black flags.
“The forward looking, secular and egalitarian people of Punjab will teach a lesson to the party which had tried to humiliate Baba Sahib,” said Sukhbir.
He further said that people must vote only for those who genuinely implement the programmes and policies inspired by Dr Ambedkar’s vision.
Sukhbir claimed that the Congress had always opposed Dr Ambedkar at every step, putting up candidates against him to block his entry into Parliament.
“Dr Ambedkar played a pivotal role in ensuring that the Dalit population in the country got the right to vote. Sadly, the Congress started by opposing him on this till public opinion forced a change of heart in that party. It was our government which had started Dalit welfare schemes like Shagun scheme, SC scholarships etc.,” he said while enumerating several other scheme including setting up of heritage and legacy of Bhagwan Balmaki at Ram Teerath and Guru Ravi Dass ji at Khuralgarh, Hoshiarpur.