Charanjit Channi’s selection as Punjab CM a ‘poll gimmick’, Mayawati says Congress doesn’t trust Dalits

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Updated: September 20, 2021 1:16 PM

In naming the three top leaders of the government, the government has tried to maintain a caste balance by getting a Dalit as CM, a Jat Singh, and a Hindu each as Deputy Chief Ministers.

Mayawati said that the selection of a Dalit CM just ahead of the assembly polls was a "poll gimmick". 

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Maywati on Tuesday congratulated Charanjit Singh Channi for being sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab, but took a jibe at the Congress party, saying that the selection of a Dalit CM just ahead of the assembly polls was a “poll gimmick”.

“I congratulate Charanjit Singh Channi on becoming Punjab CM. It would have been better if he had been appointed as CM earlier. Channi’s appointment as CM a few months ahead of Punjab assembly elections appears to be a poll gimmick,” Mayawati said.

“I have also come to know through media that the next Punjab assembly elections will be fought under the leadership of a non-Dalit. This means that Congress still does not fully trust the Dalits. Congress is also scared of the SAD-BSP alliance in Punjab,” she added.

Channi was on Monday sworn in as the 27th chief minister of Punjab. Along with Channi, two MLAs — Sukhjinder Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak and OP Soni from Amritsar Central — also took oath as Deputy CMs.

In naming the three top leaders of the government, the government has tried to maintain a caste balance by getting a Dalit as CM, a Jat Singh, and a Hindu each as Deputy Chief Ministers, with the focus on the upcoming assembly polls early next year.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), after breaking ties with the BJP, has announced its alliance with Mayawati’s BSP for the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab, in its bid to woo the Dalit community of the state.

In 2017 Assembly elections, the BSP contested on 111 seats and barring former party president of BSP Punjab unit at that time, Avtar Singh Karimpuri, all 110 candidates ended up forfeiting their security deposits.

The BJP which contested on 23 seats in alliance with SAD, won on three and had a vote share of 29.95 per cent in seats it contested. In the 2012 Assembly elections, BSP contested on all 117 seats, won none with 109 of the party candidates forfeiting their security deposits.

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