Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal today promised to give the post of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister only to a Dalit if his party is voted to power in the Assembly elections next year.
Reacting to it, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh trashed Sukhbir Badal's statement as an election gimmick by a party that failed to ensure the welfare of the community during its 10-year rule.
Sukhbir Badal further said a university named after BR Ambedkar will be set up in the state's Doaba region, which has a large Dalit population concentrated in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala.
Dalits are 33 per cent share in Punjab's overall population.
"Once the SAD forms the government in Punjab, the Deputy CM will be from the Dalit 'bhaichara'. We will also establish a university in Doaba in Babasaheb's name," said Sukhbir Badal in Punjab's Jalandhar on the 130th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
He said his party is proud to follow the ideals of BR Ambedkar. "We are committed to working for the weak and downtrodden," the SAD chief said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described Sukhbir Badal's statement as "nothing but poll optics".
The Chief Minister said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its former alliance partner BJP failed to ensure the welfare of the Dalits in the state during their 10-year rule.
"Sukhbir Badal is now promising a Deputy Chief Minister but has nothing to show what he or his party in alliance with the BJP ever did for the community," said the Chief Minister in an official statement.
Amarinder Singh also claimed of implementing all promises by his party in the last elections.
The Chief Minister promised that his government will spend at least 30 per cent of funds under all government schemes for the welfare of the state's Scheduled Castes population.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)