President of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) from Malwa zone, Kanwarjit Singh ‘Rozy’ Barkandi termed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) “a nexus of Biharis” who want to “rob Punjab of its riches”. He was in Mansa on Saturday to address a gathering of the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) youth wing workers.
“Who will trust a party whose members like Bhagwant Mann and Sucha Singh Chhotepur have divergent views over ticket distribution?” Barkandi said. “One of its members Durgesh Pathak has said that the wisdom of Sikhs lies in their turban and beard. This sort of derogatory comment will never earn them the support of youth. It is a nexus of Biharis who will loot the state.”
AAP counters ‘Bihari’ barb; Congress remains evasive
AAP spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira later countered Barkandi’s comment, saying that it had come out of “frustration due to the expanding support base of AAP in Punjab”. “Our party has not given ticket to any Bihari or UP resident in the recently announced list. Yes, we do have observers from outside the state but so does the BJP, an ally of the SAD. BJP observer Prabhat Jha is from UP. Why doesn’t the SAD leader use the same barb on the alliance partner?”
Congress MLA Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, when contacted, said that he doesn’t think appropriate to comment over the statement of SAD leader. When reminded that his party’s state unit president, Captain Amarinder Singh, has called Arvind Kejriwal an outsider on account of being from Haryana, Mofar said Captain’s comment was not aimed at the entire AAP.
Declares Bhunder Junior as candidate
When asked about fielding candidates from the youth brigade in Mansa district, Barkandi said workers of the party never have such demands; and he added that the party will be fielding Dilraj Bhunder, son of Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, from Sardulgarh.
His comments come at a time when the AAP and Congress have spoken about giving healthy representation to young candidates. Dilraj Bhunder, SAD in-charge for Sardulgarh assembly constituency, asked the workers to “effectively counter the label of ‘drug addicts’”. He said, “Many times, in our casual conversation, we label a village ‘full of drug addicts’. We should counter such narrative as it is going to have a socio-political impact on young minds.”
The meeting was held to invite party workers to Chandigarh next week to plan rallies led by YAD patron and state cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia.