Strains in Punjab Congress? Raj Kumar Verka takes up representation of Dalits in Amarinder Singh Cabinet with Rahul Gandhi

Chandigarh: The discontent within the Congress unit in Punjab over the recent state cabinet expansion reached the party high command in New Delhi with Dalit leader and MLA Raj Kumar Verka expressing "anguish" over Scheduled Caste members not being given adequate representation.

"It is an internal matter of the party and we are not against the party and we are also not upset with party. But the reality is that Valmiki and Majhabi Sikhs are somewhere feeling left out. I apprised Congress president Rahul Gandhi of the sentiments of the community," Verka said.

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

The matter is under consideration of the party high command and a way will be found out, he added. Verka, who is an MLA from Amritsar (West), had raised the matter with the Congress chief in a meeting at the Talkatora Stadium in the national capital on Tuesday.

"This matter relates to a particular section of the society...Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is seriously considering this matter and we trust the party," said Verka.

However, Chief Minister Singh while replying to a question on representation to Dalit/OBC community in the cabinet, said on Wednesday that not all the 77 ruling party MLAs could be made ministers. He, however, added that those left out would be suitably accommodated, as promised by him.

Nine new ministers were sworn in on last Saturday.

Verka was not the only leader who raised the matter of Dalits being left out in the cabinet expansion.

Earlier, Surjit Singh Dhiman, MLA from Amargarh in Sangrur district, Nathu Ram, legislator from Balluana in Fazilka and Sangat Singh Gilzian, MLA from Urmur seat in Hoshiarpur, had resigned from their party positions over the issue. Punjab Congress had tried to mollify these leaders. Congress government was also planning to appoint some MLAs as chairman of various boards and Corporations in order to placate them, sources said.

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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2018 20:01:54 IST

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