At a time when Aam Aadmi Party is expanding its wings in Patiala, the Akali minister Surjit Singh Rakhra on Wednesday tested his popularity by holding a massive rally of Schedule Caste and backward class workers.
Rakhra, who in year 2012 elections, had defeated Patiala royal scion Raninder Singh, presently is not facing any direct challenge, as neither Congress party nor Aam Aadmi Party has put a candidate or constituency in-charge at Samana. Senior Congress leader Lal Singh’s son Rajinder Singh is trying to contest election from here as Congress candidate.
In the absence of opponents, Rakhra is consolidating on weaker sections, which have traditionally been a vote bank for Congress.
To further bolster his base, Rakhra called the cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, who is president of SC Wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Addressing the gathering, Rakhra said that Congress has always considered members of Schedule Caste community as its vote bank and it kept on changing its slogan every five years to mislead them.
He said before 2012 election, a mammoth rally was held at Samana which had laid the foundation for SAD-Bharatiya Janata Party combine to form government for the second time. ‘‘Today’s historic gathering has laid the foundation for hatrick of SAD-BJP government combine,’’ he said.
SAD has done a lot for poor and downtrodden by launching schemes like Atta Dal, Shagun and Mai Bhago Vidya scheme, besides other.
He said Punjab was the only state which was providing 400 units of power free to the scheduled caste families. He said that these measures have helped a lot to the poor and downtrodden.
He said that government has constructed a number of memorials like the one of Valmiki being constructed with a cost of `300 crore in Amritsar. Similarly memorials are also under construction in the name of Guru Ravidass ji, Bhai Jaita ji, Bhagat Namdev ji besides others.