In a bid to woo the Dalit community, Delhi Chief Minister has promised that he will appoint a Dalit leader as the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab if his party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), comes to power in next year’s assembly polls.
"A Dalit will be the deputy chief minister when AAP comes to power in Punjab," AAP's national convenor said here while addressing a gathering in the Dalit-dominated Doaba region on Friday.
Dalits make up about 30 per cent of the state's population.
Kejriwal, however, did not make any mention of who the chief ministerial candidate of AAP would be.
In a separate manifesto for the community which was unveiled yesterday, Kejriwal’s party promised houses for all Dalits, a special cell for implementation of Post Matric Scholarship Scheme and a hike in the Shagun amount given for the wedding of a daughter to Rs 51,000
Kejriwal released AAP's 19-point agenda and said that the upliftment of the community is must for the progress of Punjab and once voted to power, the party would take special care of the Dalit community in the state.
He said a low-cost housing scheme would be implemented to ensure that all members of the community have a pucca house and the Punjab Scheduled Caste Commission will be strengthened and expanded to ensure that their grievances are taken seriously and discrimination of any kind is punished.
He said a special cell will be created to monitor proper implementation of the Post Matric Scholarship scheme and a time-bound inquiry will be conducted to identify those guilty of looting money meant for Dalits under the scheme and to take strict action against them.
"A special SIT will fix responsibility and recommend exemplary punishment for atrocities and false cases registered against Dalits in the last five years," Kejriwal said, adding that the backlog of job vacancies for Dalits would be cleared.
He said a collateral-free loan of Rs 2 lakh would be given to start small businesses or village-based enterprises to enable poor members of the community to earn a dignified living.
In the event of crop failure, farm labourers shall be given a compensation of Rs 10,000 for every month of loss of work, he said, adding that job cards under MGNREGA will be made on priority for Dalits and more work areas will be identified for the scheme.
Kejriwal said the amount under Shagun scheme will be increased to Rs 51,000. Old-age, widow and handicapped pensions will be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 2000. Everyone will be eligible for old age pension at 58 years.
To improve the health system, he said there will be a modern Pind Sehat Clinic in every village.
"Every village will have a modern Pind Sehat Clinic with the availability of doctors, free medicines and free of charge diagnostic tests as provided in Delhi by the AAP government. Rs 5 lakh health insurance scheme will be introduced," he said.
AAP has already released farmer, youth and transport, trade and industry manifestos.
With PTI Inputs