Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was left red-faced when two Dalit women in the front row countered his claims of development, at a Dalit Chetna Rally organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at Mandi Killianwali in the CM’s own assembly segment, Lambi, in Muktsar district on Tuesday.
Badal was talking about welfare schemes initiated by the SAD-BJP government for Dalits when the women — Raj Rani and Manjit Kaur — interrupted him and started asking questions. “Either your officers or jathedars (leaders) have taken all benefits from these schemes... The intended beneficiaries have not got anything,” said one of them before police took them out of the venue.
Badal then wrapped up his speech in about a minute and left the venue.
Another Dalit man, Maura Singh of Kishanpura Patti village, raised slogans outside the venue after police did not let him go in to meet the CM. “My son committed suicide on July 27 and the case of abetment was registered against two persons of his village; but the police have not arrested anyone so far,” he claimed.
Earlier, in his speech, the CM described Scheduled Castes (SC/Dalits) as the backbone of the state, and said the party “has taken historic initiatives for their overall welfare during its tenure”.
“Had the government not started these schemes, lives of these hapless families would be far more miserable,” Badal said, before his address was interrupted.
He also announced to install solar lights in all villages of Lambi segment.