Tribune News Service
Bathinda, April 18
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today asked the Congress government to stop “persecuting Dalits by burdening them with hefty power bills” to cover its own shortcomings.
Interacting with a group of women at Poohla village, Harsimrat said the SAD would launch a statewide agitation to ensure justice to members belonging to the Scheduled Caste category if the bills were not withdrawn immediately.
She expressed shock when a Dalit woman showed her power bill of a whopping Rs 80,000.
“The woman said they had been receiving power free of cost during the SAD-BJP government, but now the facility of free power to farmers had been withdrawn and they were being forced to pay 10 to 20 times more than their consumption.”
After seeing the power bills, Harsimrat said while the SAD would take up their case and that she would personally fight for their right to free power as per the norms.
She said it was shocking that while SC consumers were being denied the partial free power scheme initiated by the previous SAD-BJP regime, consumers of backward classes had been left out of the ambit of the scheme.
“This is an anti-poor step and we will oppose it tooth and nail,” she added.
Harsimrat said this was the first government in the history of Punjab which had denied scholarship to Dalit students and even refused to release winter uniforms for 12 lakh government schoolchildren, a majority of whom were Dalit or from backward classes.
She urged the women to confront the Congress leaders and ask them why the Congress government was discriminating against the Dalit community.
She also urged them to wisely use their voting right and teach the Congress a lesson in the coming Lok Sabha election.
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