Holding the SAD-BJP government responsible for the “deplorable” condition of Dalits in the state, Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday said in case of the party coming to power, it would take special care of education of the community’s children.
He was speaking at the two-day ‘SC Leaders’ Conclave’ that began here on Monday. Party leaders highlighted the need to educate Dalit children in front of the community leaders of the Congress from across the state.
With an eye on the next assembly polls, the conclave is being held to woo Dalits who constitute nearly 35% population of the state. The conclave is being organised as part of the Congress’s nationwide programme to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
Amarinder said education of Dalits in the state would be a major agenda of the party. “If we come back to power, we will ensure that children of Dalits get better education opportunities,” he said.
He said Dalits are not getting quality education, due to which when they go to schools they fail in most subjects. “The system is divided into schools for the poor and schools for the rich. We will ensure that the quality of education becomes the same for both,” he said.
Talking about the selection of candidates for the assembly polls, Amarinder said every constituency and every candidate would be thoroughly assessed before the final nomination and if need be, the party could take any decision.
To be incuded in manifesto
Party leader Manpreet Badal said he would ensure that the manifesto of the Congress included education for Dalits. “I assure you that all poor, especially children of Dalits, would get the education children of private schools get,” Manpreet said.
Congress campaign committee chief Ambika Soni said a major chunk of the state’s population belonged to Scheduled Castes and there is need to provide quality education to them. “The Congress has always worked for the welfare of Dalits in the country. We will make sure that it continues if our party is voted to power,” Soni said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi, the Dalit face of the party, said children of Dalits wanted to study but were stopped from doing so. “Our children want to study in such schools where children of the rich study. Most private schools are English medium whereas almost all government schools are Punjabi medium. This creates a difference between children studying in different schools, which should be eliminated,” Channi said.
The conference will deliberate on the issues confronting Dalits and suggest means to address these. It will come up with a declaration that will be submitted to the manifesto committee to be incorporated in the Congress manifesto. The conclave will also discuss the agenda of the RSS impacting Dalits.
Punjab Congress affairs incharge Shakeel Ahmad, secretary incharge Harish Chaudhary, MPs Ravneet Singh Bittu, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, and former state Congress presidents Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo were present on the occasion.