Eyeing Dalit support in the 2017 elections, the ruling Akali-BJP combine went all out for the Ravidasia community votes when the chief minster unveiled the foundation stone of Guru Ravidas Memorial on Sunday at this village in Garhshankar sub-division.
The panthic slogans of ‘Jo Bole So Nihal... Sat Shri Akal’ and ‘Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Shri Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh’ that come with every big statement in Akali speeches were raised less often, tactically, followed every time by Ravidasia slogan ‘Jo Bole So Nirbhay Satguru Maharaj Ki Jai’, which got a better crowd response. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and local MP Prem Singh Chandumajra even had the verses of Guru Ravidass written on their cue papers.
Before his speech, Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal honoured more than 90 Ravidasia Sant Samaj leaders and touched their feet to seek their “blessings”. The head of the most prominent Ravidasia dera of Ballan was in Jalandhar but five members of its executive committee were at the Khuralgarh event. Tourism minister Sohan Singh Thandal; local legislator Surinder Singh Bhullewal Rathan, Union minister Vijay Sampla, and state BJP president Kamal Sharma were on stage.
Memorial to be world-class: CM
The CM announced a project to develop Khuralgarh as a world class pilgrimage centre, “as a tribute to Guru Ravidas”. “It will be an architectural marvel with a congregation hall for 10,000, a modern auditorium for an audience of 500, and 151-foot-high ‘Minar-e-Begampura’ tower,” said Badal.
He accused the Congress of exploiting the Dalits for votes but not doing much for their growth and prosperity. Announcing a grant of `2 crore for drinking water, streetlight, roads and sewerage at the Ravidasia villages of Khuralgarh and Bassi, the deputy CM said the memorial dedicated to Guru Ravidas would be built for `110 crore.