Amritpal Singh And 'Waris Punjab De': AAP Government's Incompetence Makes It Centre's Fight

Amritpal Singh And 'Waris Punjab De': AAP Government's Incompetence Makes It Centre's Fight

by Tushar Gupta - Friday, February 24, 2023 10:47 AM IST
Amritpal Singh And 'Waris Punjab De': AAP Government's Incompetence Makes It Centre's FightViolent attack on cops by Khalistani supporters ushered by Amritpal Singh Sandhu and his supporters.
  • BJP must have all the options on the table, but to begin with, they must direct the AAP government to take matters into their own hands.

    The Home Ministry cannot always be cleaning up the mess encouraged by Kejriwal and his supporters.

The violence, ushered by Amritpal Singh Sandhu and his supporters, outside a police station in Amritsar confirms two important concerns that were being voiced.

One, the law and order, under the Aam Aadmi Government (AAP) has gone for a toss.

Two, Sandhu, even with all his self-proclaimed holy credentials is a national security problem.

To protest in a democracy is justified, but to threaten the state with violence over an FIR is anarchy, and given Sandhu’s political remarks, a pursuit towards separatism in the garb of religion. 

While the blame for the deteriorating law and order situation lies with Arvind Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, and Bhagwant Mann alone, given their late response to the group ‘Waris Punjab De’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the centre, must also prepare to be in a position to take some hard calls, as they did in Delhi during the CAA protests and subsequent riots, and during the pandemic.

It won’t come as a surprise if both Kejriwal and Mann evade responsibility in the future and leave the problem for the centre to deal with, right before the elections of 2024. 

Therefore, it is imperative that the BJP avoids the mistakes they made during the farmer protests.

For starters, it is important the centre pulls up the state government in case they fail to discharge their duties.

Quite like Captain Amarinder Singh, as the Congress chief minister, allowed the farmers a free run, Mann’s government is doing the same with Sandhu.

Using all the political and bureaucratic leverage there is, the centre must ensure that the state, using the law enforcement apparatus, does the needful. The directives must be stern and public. 

Two, without being too dependent on the AAP to do the right thing in the state, it is important that the BJP gets its old friends back into the fold.

Politically debatable, the inclusion of Akalis may not go down well with many supporters, but as things stand today, it would only be one less problem for the BJP in the long run.

Even Akalis, in the long run, need the BJP, given the drubbing in 2022, and the inevitable and imminent vacuum within the party after Badal Sr. hangs up his boots. 

The inclusion of the Akalis, along with Captain Amarinder Singh, and other key leaders ahead of 2024 serves another purpose; that of narrative building.

The last few months have been squandered away by both the centre, and other well-wishers of the state. For the next twelve months, a strong narrative push against the separatist forces, economic follies, and political misadventures of both AAP and Waris Punjab De is warranted.

Given the farm laws were lost due to the lack of a narrative from the BJP, the NDA must start right away. 

Furthermore, Sandhu and Waris Punjab De pursuits should be called out for what they are; an ask for a new state.

For the people of the state, the memories of the violence from the 1980s is quite fresh, and while Sandhu will keep making the headlines, his ground support is not going to swell as it did for Bhindrawale in the 1980s.

Thus, it is more important for the BJP and friends to counter Sandhu’s political speeches and rhetoric. Ideally, the countering should come from the leaders on the ground, in the state, and not from Delhi. 

The narrative must not be restricted to television channels or prime time debates alone, but must extend to social media where Sandhu has found his footing. The centre must also ensure that Sandhu is not turned into some kind of hero for people to worship.

Given it is in the nature of the electorate to make heroes and martyrs out of anyone, literally, as the events Shaheen Bagh and Singhu affirm, it would be ideal to treat Sandhu as any other potential suspect in context of the cases filed against him. 

The farmer protests were the first protest in India, probably, to be merchandised and managed at such a grand scale.

Given the kind of resources that were being wasted away in Singhu to keep the protesters happy, one can expect the same kind of money, aided by the Brampton lobby, to flow into the state from world over.

This is another battle for the intelligence agencies to fight. Curtailing the money supply will go a long way in curtailing the movement on the ground.

BJP must have all the options on the table, starting with Article 356, but to begin with, they must direct the AAP government to take matters into their own hands.

The Home Ministry cannot always be cleaning up the mess encouraged by Kejriwal and his supporters. However, in the shadows, it would be best for the centre to prepare for the worst, set the right narrative in motion, and address the problem before it becomes too big to contain.

What this country does not need is another set of protesters crowding around the national capital. 

Even though the idea of Khalistan is as outrageous as a human colony on Mercury, the madness around it knows no bounds on social media, encouraged by the handlers in Canada.

While most of them would not dare to land in Delhi and peddle their propaganda, in Sandhu, they have found a front.

At some point in the near future, the government, at the highest levels, must deliberate with the American and Canadian governments over the flourishing anti-India activities in their region, starting with the Brampton lobby. 

To paraphrase Alfred Pennyworth from Nolan’s Batman; some people want to watch the world burn.

Perhaps, it would be in the best interests of the country to keep the fire brigade on high alert. 

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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