Chandigarh, Apr 15: A day after SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal announced he would give the Punjab Deputy CM's post to a Dalit if his party wins in 2022, Congress leader Manish Tewari on Thursday asked him whether the position of chief minister was reserved for someone.
Tewari, the MP from the Anandpur Sahib constituency, also said that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader should desist from indulging in "politics of identity".
Badal on Wednesday in Jalandhar had promised to give the post of Punjab deputy chief minister to a Dalit if his party is voted to power in the assembly polls next year.
Reacting to the statement, Tewari asked Badal, why only deputy chief minister, why not a Dalit as chief minister? Is the top position reserved for someone permanently?
"Once Pandora's box of identity politics is opened, then people will legitimately demand, if not ask, as to why a Hindu should not be chief minister or for that matter, someone from the OBC (other backward classes) community should not then be the chief minister of the state, he said.
The Congress MP cautioned Badal that politics of identity has been the bane of nations and civilizations, and goes against the ethos of Punjab that can be summed up in three words "Punjab, Punjabi, Punjabiyat".
Tewari said the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Dev, had fittingly preached 'Manas ki Jaat sabhe eke pehchanbo' (all human beings have one identity).
The genesis of the Sikh faith also lies in its cardinal belief of equality and egalitarianism, he said in a statement.
Millions of Punjabi's who live and work abroad have made better lives for themselves because those countries have endeavoured to create relatively classless societies where merit coupled with hard work and not the colour of your skin or religion or ethnicity is the determining factor that defines whether you succeed or fail, the MP said.
Tewari opined that merit and merit alone should determine as to who should occupy the top job in a state if the state has to progress and the quality of life of people has to be improved.
I am a strong believer in social justice but I stand firmly against the use of social justice for tokenism and to achieve narrow partisan political objectives, he said.