Former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo on Thursday accused the party leadership of ignoring interests of Dalits and Hindus while allocating tickets during the 2007 and 2012 assembly elections, even as he appealed for caution in this regard in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
"The wrong allocation of tickets led to successive election losses," he said, adding that he had raised this issue with the party high command from time to time, but to no avail.
Dullo was here to participate in a religious function.
"These two sections of society have been the backbone of the Congress so far, but after the party's corporatisation, these have been ignored. Only musclemen and financially sound leaders were allocated tickets. As a result, the party lost almost winnable elections and the people of Punjab are suffering largely due to our failure," he said.
"Dalits are being ignored within the Congress. Wherever there is a Dalit leader, it is only due to the compulsion of the reservation policy. We have been limited to 33% seats only. Despite being a four-time MLA from the Khanna constituency, I was denied the ticket on a general seat," he added.
Dullo ruled out the potential impact of factionalism in the Punjab Congress in the parliamentary elections. "A stern directive was issued by the party high command during the lunch meeting recently to show unity and avoid public annoyance against each other. A detailed programme would be chalked out by the PPCC in the coming days. Thereafter, a panel of 10 members would hold frequent meetings to finalise the strategy," Dullo said.
"Whosoever shows disrespect to the party directive would be dealt with by the high command," said Dullo.
On his staking a claim on the party ticket for the Lok Sabha polls from Punjab, Dullo said, "I am a party worker and would obey the high command's directions. I will be a Congressman, whether given the ticket or not."
Dullo also accused the Punjab government of befooling Dalits, saying that the announcement of Rs. 118 crore for Valmiki Tirath was just a lollypop for the community.
"Like other big announcements, there will be nothing for the Dalits. The state is on the verge of bankruptcy. How can they spend so much when they fail to pay salaries in time?" he added.