Amarinder goes down memory lane, flays 'anti Dalit' sentiment

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Chandigarh, Apr 14 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday recalled how during an election campaign at an upper caste village decades back he had walked out when some people tried to humiliate his assistant.

Singh said that when Rajiv Gandhi contested for the first time from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, after the death of his brother Sanjay Gandhi, the electioneering task was handed over to him for one of the four areas in the constituency. 'A Scheduled Caste youth, who was deputed to help me, wanted to get off the jeep before entering an upper caste dominated village, but I did not allow him to. He was standing next to me when the villagers offered me water, asking him to go out.

'But I made it clear that he will not go out alone. So I also left the place, telling them - 'Votan pao ya na pao, appa jaa rahe hain' (Give us votes or not, we are going),' Singh said while lamenting the anti-Dalit mindset that still exists in the country.

He recalled the incident in an official statement issued on Wednesday.

Remembering BR Ambedkar's contribution to the nation on his birth anniversary, the chief minister said as the son of a Subedar, he worked hard and studied when the majority did not go to school.

Singh said he was proud to be paying homage to a brilliant man, who drafted the Constitution on which the country is still running.

He said his government will spend at least 30 per cent of funds under all schemes for the welfare of the state's Scheduled Caste population.

Singh also announced filling up of the SC vacancy backlog in all departments on priority, while promising to explore a post-matric overseas scholarship scheme for SC students. PTI CHS VSD KJ