Will The ‘Vote For Kejriwal’ Turn Punjab Into A Safe Haven For ‘Khalistanis’?

by Poulasta Chakraborty - Jan 10, 2017 07:13 PM +05:30 IST
 Will The ‘Vote For Kejriwal’ Turn Punjab Into A Safe Haven For ‘Khalistanis’? Getty Images
  • As per Sisodia’s statement, ‘Kejriwal’ will fulfil the promises made to Punjab. Now if one looks at the past of Kejriwal this statement is actually quite worrying.

As per certain media reports, Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, has announced the perfect CM candidate for Punjab: none other than Arvind Kejriwal. The reports claim Manish Sisodia said so during an election campaign in Mohali. However one needs to look at the exact quote of Sisodia to know the context:

…One brother was asking me here who will become CM of Punjab, I said you keep believing that Arvind Kejriwal will be the CM…whoever becomes the CM, it will be responsibility of Kejriwal to fulfill whatever promises that have been made…..

This statement is interesting, especially the ‘you keep believing that Arvind Kejriwal will be the CM’ part as it still keeps the name of the original candidate a mystery. Also some would say this part displays Sisodia’s unwillingness to dismiss Kejriwal as the CM candidate. The Punjab legislative assembly election will be held on 4 February 2017 but the AAP is yet to announce its CM candidate.

So far the AAP has indulged in many dramatics over the post of Deputy CM in the state. On 30 December, Kejriwal claimed that former BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu declined AAP’s offer to be its candidate for deputy chief minister. However, almost a month earlier Kejriwal had promised that the same post will be given to a Dalit leader.

Such mysterious dramatics is not new for Kejriwal. But as per Sisodia’s statement, ‘Kejriwal’ will fulfil the promises made to Punjab. Now if one looks at the past of Kejriwal this statement is actually quite worrying.

Three years ago when the people of Delhi elected the Aam Aadmi Party to power, the reason given by the bulk of the voters was the conviction that Kejriwal was the appropriate alternate to the ‘corrupt’ Congress and the ‘communal’ BJP. Bulk of those voters were individuals not invested in politics and hence preferred voting for what they thought was the alternative. As the time came for the Lok Sabha polls AAP’s footprint had expanded to Punjab.

Following his victory, CM Kejriwal impressed the Delhites through his promises, unrealistic subsidies and freebies while coupling it up with needless drama. His ‘impressive’ streak lasted for a whole forty-nine days after which the AAP relinquished power and put Delhi under President’s rule. Suddenly the AAP which was presenting itself as an alternative to corruption and communalism became a party with far more dubious credentials.

In the Lok Sabha polls Kejriwal decided to contest the elections from Varanasi challenging the then PM candidate of the BJP, Narendra Modi. To garner support, AAP shook hands with rabid Islamists, violent Naxalites as well as Kashmiri separatists while treating Delhi as their fiefdom. When a good number of political “experts” questioned Kejriwal’s choice of Varanasi over Delhi, he shot back ‘who should we save, Delhi or the country?’as per Sisodia’s statement, ‘Kejriwal’ will fulfil the promises made to Punjab. Now if one looks at the past of Kejriwal this statement is actually quite worrying.

On 16 May, sadly he failed to “rescue both Delhi and the nation”. Now if we take Kejriwal’s ‘who should we save’ logic, it can be expected without much surprise that he may choose to field someone else to be the CM for Delhi while he continues his crusade to “rescue” the nation starting with Punjab. At least he will be consistent in quitting the CM post which the people elected him for.

But going by some of his activities it is doubtful if Kejriwal’s intention is to save Punjab or endanger it. Almost two years back, the AAP MP from Patiala Dharamveer Gandhi claimed that the party was providing support to the protests carried out by radical Sikh groups for the premature release of pro-Khalistani militants.

During that time the AAP state convenor for Punjab Sucha Singh Chhotepur generated controversy by visiting the radical Sikh activist Surat Singh Khalsa. Many rallies held by AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh and MP Bhagwant Mann saw the attendees waving the portraits of the infamous Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Many AAP leaders were also present during the “Sarbat Khalsa” of 10 November 2015, where resolutions demanding a separate Sikh nation were passed.

Although Sucha Singh Chhotepur said ‘Khalistan not a part of our agenda’, an interesting angle was given by AAP’s manifesto in-charge Kanwar Sandhu. While Sandhu said, “Where is the need for us to explain our stand on Khalistan? AAP is into electoral politics and that, by definition, means we believe in the integrity of India..” he also added- “However, there is no harm in discussing Khalistan just like any other issue is discussed.”

This two-sided decision puts Punjab at risk as the state suffered a bloodied insurgency for a decade in the 1980s and cannot afford to slip into that phase again. The Delhi CM (as of now) is allegedly supported by separatist leader Gurdeep Singh Brar of United Sikh Movement. Earlier, Jarnail Singh, an AAP candidate from West Delhi in Lok Sabha elections has been known to address pro-Khalistan rallies abroad.

Kejriwal has made it a point to side with controversial elements for political purposes. But the state of Punjab is at a significant position from the context of national security, so being ‘buddies’ with Khalistanis can spell doom for the state and the nation at large.

One example of this kind of risky friendship can be seen in the state of West Bengal where Kejriwal’s ally Mamata Banerjee is known to be on very amicable terms with dreaded Islamist groups. Her acts have made the state of Bengal a safe haven for the radical Islamists. Didi even sent to Rajya Sabha a man who has been accused of rousing communal riots, and acting as a go-between to anti-India Islamic terrorists in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government itself prepared a report on how this MP helped shift money from the Saradha scam to Jamaat terrorists. (For details head here).

Now it needs to be seen whether Kejriwal and his AAP announce an appropriate CM candidate for Punjab? Or will the ‘vote for Kejriwal’ turn Punjab into a safe refuge for ‘Khalistanis’?

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