Santa Badal’s Gift Paying dividend to Alliance : Valmiki/Mazhabi community's paradigm shift towards alliance a cause of worry for Congress and AAP

Rajeev Bhaskar | December 25, 2016 01:03 PM


JALANDHAR: It was a foggy winter morning on the first day of Chief Minister’s Sangat Darshan in Jalandhar Cantt on 20th of this month but an astute politician Parkash Singh Badal was beaming probably because of massive and unexpected response of Valmiki/ Mazhbi sikh community, which has came in huge numbers to felicitate him providing a grandeur look to Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal. 

Valmiki/ Mazhbi Community’s Paradigm Shift Towards Alliance A Cause Of Worry For Congress And AAP.

Numbers show congress finding it difficult to give ‘legitimate share’ in power sharing.

The well calculated move of Badal government has helped his party, grappling with anti-incumbency, to bounce back in the state politics as a major chunk of SC populace is now rallying behind it emotionally.

Badal’s joy was but natural as the community showered heaps of praise and love on him besides facilitating the octogenarian politician during his four days Sangat Darshan in Jalandhar and Kapurthala from December 20-23. Everywhere, Badal went he was felicitated by the community with Siropas and pictures of Bhagwan Valmiki ji amidst the chants of ‘Valmiki Shakti Amar Rahe’ and ‘Badal Teri Soch te Pehra Devaange Thok ke'>Badal Teri Soch te Pehra Devaange Thok ke’, a reflection of community’s gratitude towards the state government for spending more than Rs 200 crore on Bhagwan Valmiki Ji Tirath Sthal and aptly using its Public Relations Department to publicize this initiative.

Knowing well that the Community can tilt the scales in their favor and help them to again form the government, the Akali Dal is leaving no stone unturned for showcasing this effort. Another such step Bhagwan Valmiki Ji Darshan Yatra has also helped the SAD to firm up its hold over community.

Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal has also used his micromanagement skills to corner the other parties seeking votes from the community. In a smart move aimed at garnering maximum support of community, he has so far allocated around 14 sets to the community for ensuing assembly polls.

Surprisingly, the SAD has decided to field a relative of Hans Raj Hans and prominent community leader Paramjit Singh from Kapurthala assembly segment. Fielding of a candidate from Valmiki/ Mazhbi Sikh community from an unreserved seat assumes significance as it may brighten the prospects of alliance candidates from two districts of Jalandhar and Kapurthala where community has a sizeable presence, which can make or mar the prospects of any party.

Likewise, to further strengthen their hold over community two leaders of community Subash Sondhi and Vicky Sahota have been appointed as Senior Vice Presidents of Dalit Welfare Board and Safai Karamchari Welfare Commission whereas MLA Baljeet Singh Jalal Usma has been made member of Right to Service Commission.

Badal’s new found love for community and vice-a-versa is definitely an alarming bell for Congress party, which has considered the community as strong vote bank, in post independence era.

The party has already suffered a major reverse after prominent community leader and Sufi Singer Hans Raj Hans, over discriminatory treatment to community, citing that the community was being deprived of its due share in political power. Unceremoniously, dropping Hans for Rajya Sabha seat despite announcing it to pave way for former state Congress Chief Shamsher Singh Dullo has already created flutter in community.

  Even in ongoing tug of war for ticket allocation the party is too far away from giving ‘legitimate right’ of community in ticket allocation. In a conference of community held a few months away at Sultanpur Lodhi , the community has urged the state Congress Chief and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to allocate atleast half of the reserved seats in state and especially in Doaba region to the community.

Though Captain had assured that community would be given its due share but out of nearly 24 reserved seats allotted by the Congress so far only about six seats have been given to the community while in Doaba region not even a single seat has been given to it.

To rub salt into the wounds of community the Kartarpur assembly seat has been allotted to former Punjab Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s son despite of the fact that community had been demanding this seat along with Phagwara, Sham Chaurasi and Adampur for its leaders. Community’s support to the party will depend a lot on nomination of Congress candidates from these seats due to which party was playing safe on it.

Similarly an expert in caste mathematics, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also zealously working to get the support of community. The party had fielded Jyoti Mann from community in Lok Sabha polls who surprised everybody by bagging more than two lakh votes. Now also the party has fielded a young leader of community Chandan Grewal from Kartarpur assembly segments, who is garnering massive support from across the region.

But with Congress and AAP still in Dilemma over fixing the share of community in power sharing the Akali Dal is apparently leading in their attempts to woo the community. Noteworthy till the code of conduct is implemented Santa Badal’s bag is full of plum postings and incentives for community, which can be fatal for Congress and AAP in run up of the 2017 polls.    

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