In a big setback for the Congress party in Punjab, two MLAs have resigned from the party posts. Suranjit Singh Dhiman, MLA from Amargarh in Sangrur district and Nathu Ram, MLA from Balwana of Fazilka handed over their resignation to the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar. The number of angry Congress leaders is increasing due to not being made minister in the Punjab cabinet reshuffle.
Congress had announced the names of nine new ministers on Friday after a meeting between party chief Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in New Delhi. MLAs resigned from party posts shortly before their swearing in.
Earlier, Congress MLA Sangit Singh Gilgil had resigned on Friday on the issue as the Vice-President of All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
While announcing the resignation of PPCC general secretary, Nathu Ram said he had taken this step due to neglect of Dalit community by the party. At the same time, the resignation of Surjit Singh Dhiman as the vice president of the PPCC was announced by his son Jaswinder Dhiman. Ram comes from a dalit society while Surjeet represents the backward class.
Two-time legislator Ram told PTI, “Dalits are feeling humiliated by being denied a ministerial slot in the cabinet expansion.” He said that ” Dalits account for 34 per cent of Punjab population and if we are to consider this percentage, at least five ministers should be Dalits in the cabinet.”
Surjeet’s son said that the party has “neglected” the backward classes. Chief Minister Singh however denied any kind of ‘injustice’ in the selection of new ministers. Singh said that all the factions and areas have been given proper representation and mainly the care of seniority has been taken.