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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Now, OBCs a worry for Cong


Now, OBCs a worry for Cong

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9

First Valmikis, now Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The Congress leadership, it seems, is battling on several fronts. Even as it is yet to mollify the Valmikis/Mazhabis, who claim to have been ignored during ticket allocation, a meeting of the executive committee of the OBCs has served an ultimatum on the party leadership to either nominate their leader for the Anandpur Sahib seat or they will go their separate way, fielding an Independent. 

In a representation to the party’s central leadership, they have pointed out that despite being a sizeable vote bank, they have been ignored, as had been the case in the 2009 and 2014 parliamentary elections. Rajpal Singh, RP Singh, Surjit Singh Seota and Harbhajan Singh Saini said despite a representation to Congress Punjab affairs incharge Asha Kumari and PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar, no heed had been paid to their demand. They also claimed only Jats were holding important positions in the party.

The leaders warned that ignoring the OBCs could damage the party’s prospects in Anandpur Sahib, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Ferozepur. After Charanjit Singh Channi, son of Congress stalwart Dilbagh Singh, quit the Congress in 2016, no OBC leader has been groomed by the party. 

Former PPCC chief HS Hanspal admitted the OBCs were restive as they believed they hadn’t been given their due. Rajpal Singh, a senior Congress leader and a ticket aspirant for the Anandpur Sahib seat, said after the late Gaini Zail Singh, the Ramgarhia community had been sidelined by the party. 

Meanwhile, former PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo said the party had made a “huge mistake” by “ignoring” the Valmikis.

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