With a group of NRIs from Canada already campaigning for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections, another group of non-resident Indians from the United Kingdom arrived here amid fanfare on Tuesday morning with the ‘Flame of Hope’.
AAP in-charge of Punjab affairs Sanjay Singh, state unit convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi and Majitha party candidate Himmat Singh Shergill welcomed the NRIs at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport with a traditional musical troupe that beat dhols’, singing ‘Jituga bhi jituga ---jharu wala jituga (The party with the broom symbol will win)’.
The NRIs, attired in T-shirts that read ‘Chalo Punjab’ and ‘Flame of Hope’, joined the ‘bhangra’. The torch, called the ‘Flame of Hope’, was handed over to Sanjay Singh. “The NRIs are here with high hopes. They want to create history by making Punjab free of drugs, corruption, mafia rule and want to revive its prosperity,” he said.
Ghuggi said, “Around 100 years ago, Kartar Singh Sarabha, a member of the Ghadar movement who sacrificed his life in the freedom struggle, came to Punjab to free it of slavery. Today, thousands of Sarabhas are here for the second freedom struggle.”
Tejpal Singh, a resident of Lamington, claimed the group comprised more than 100 NRIs and more will follow.
“It is for the first time that NRIs have come to Punjab to campaign for a party. I have never been part of any political party but the situation in Punjab, contributed by politicians of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, forced me to campaign for the AAP. I have no personal interest in this party and will return in a few days,” said Jagjit Singh, an elderly resident of Birmingham.
Another NRI, Lakhwinder Singh, said, “The ideology of (AAP leader) Arvind Kejriwal appealed to us so we’re here to support his party.”
The NRIs headed for the Golden Temple before leaving for Majitha constituency where they held a roadshow in support of Shergill. Shergill is fighting Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a high-profile contest.