The grand old party, Congress, recently sprung a big surprise by appointing a Dalit as the chief minister of Punjab. The party has taken a bold gamble by appointing Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi as the Punjab chief minister, and the echo of the gamble could be heard even in Uttar Pradesh, where the Dalits are politically more assertive and drifted away from the Congress to the BSP in the last few decades. The party took the decision to appoint Channi in place of captain Amarinder Singh. The state has a 32.2 percent scheduled caste population, and the appointment of Channi is expected to help the party in the state assembly election due early next year.
However, the Congress hopes that the appointment of a Dalit CM will have repercussions beyond Punjab. In UP, the Congress is trying to revive its Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim alliance. The party’s general secretary in charge of UP, Priyankha Gandhi Vadra, has been making every effort to woo Dalits back to the Congress. However, it will not be an easy task. Much will depend on how Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi performs and how he will develop special relations with his fellow Dalits. If he does well, he can become a massive asset for the Congress party across India. But there are chances that other castes will be unhappy with the decision. Whatever the case may be, the Congress has taken a bold gamble and only time will tell whether it gives it the dividends.