Congress sending team to UK to reach out to Punjabi, Dalit NRIs for 2017 polls

In a bid to woo Sikh and Punjabi Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the United Kingdom, the Congress is sending a high-profile delegation to London to seek their help in winning next year’s crucial state assembly elections. The party is also planning to woo Dalit NRIs and as part of the reach-out programme, former Union minister Kumari Selja and party’s Punjab-in-charge Asha Kumari will visit Ambedkar House and also interact with members of the Valmiki community in London.
Out of the estimated 25 million NRI population, overseas Sikhs and Punjabis constitute around 12 million. The NRIs have played a key role in all the past elections in Punjab and all major political parties make hectic attempts to win them over. Punjab along with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur goes to polls in February-March next year. While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has already taken a lead in reaching out to the influential Punjabi diaspora, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, too, have stepped up their overseas campaign. Selja, a prominent Dalit face of the Congress from neighbouring Haryana, has been roped in to woo the members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.
According to the 2011 Census, Punjab has the highest percentage of SC?population among all the states in the country. Dalits constitute 31.94% of the total population of the state.
The state accounts for 2.3% of the total population and 4.3% of the SC population in India.
The Congress delegation will also visit different gurdwaras and temples during their four-day visit to the UK. The party is desperately seeking to regain power from the Akali Dal which has been ruling the state for the past nearly 10 years now. Prior to this, Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh had visited the United States in April this year to seek the support
of the NRIs.

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