Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal announced on Thursday that the SAD-BSP alliance would have two deputy chief ministers – one as Dalit and other from the Hindu community of Punjab if elected to power.
The move would lead to a “government that will truly represent the composite Punjabi culture and Punjabi unity”, said Badal at the party’s core committee meeting which he chaired in the evening.
“We understand that there are external forces which want to disturb the peace of Punjab by pitching communities against each other. We are committed to keeping all communities together and it is with this in mind that the SAD has decided to have a representative from the Hindu community as a deputy CM once it secures power in Punjab,” Badal said.
He said Punjab had the highest population of Dalit as compared to other states and it was felt that more efforts should be made to protect their interests. “Earlier also it was SAD which had always extended the maximum social welfare benefits to the Dalit community when in government”.
The SAD president said the decision to have two deputy CMs was in consonance with “the liberal secular ethos of Sarbat da Bhala handed down to us through the rich heritage of the great Guru Sahiban. It is also symbolic of the strong emotional bonds that bind the different communities together.”