The Punjab Dialogue programme organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) here on Friday witnessed some heated discussion amid significant participation by former sportspersons and youth.
The dialogue’s chairperson, journalist-turned-politician Kanwar Sandhu concluded that there was a need to make sports a mass movement to curb the menace of drug abuse. “AAP is committed to chalking out a comprehensive sports policy to bring back the lost sheen of Punjabis in the field,” he said.
Ruckus at event
However, the event also saw some ruckus when a young man named Gurvinder Singh from Jalandhar Cantonment spoke of the party’s Delhi-appointed leaders in Punjab “ignoring” grassroots volunteers and giving important posts to newcomers. A section of the audience applauded him. He asked the leaders present to declare they would not take any office of profit if AAP formed the government.
Sandhu sought to move forward by saying that sports issues were the focus of the dialogue. But later, actor and party leader Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi lost his composure when Gurvinder alleged that he was not allowed to speak as he was a baptised Sikh. “Hun tu badtameezi kar rehan hain (Now you are being ill-mannered),” Ghuggi told him.
As for issues raised at the event, former hockey Olympian Kaur Singh said the sports minister of Punjab should be a sportsperson: “It’s a specialised field.” Harinder Singh, a student of the local DAV College, suggested there was a need the provide sports facilities in every village, “so that the menace of drugs can be curbed”.
Among those present were former women’s hockey team captain Rajbir Kaur, Olympian Jagdeep Gill, and bodybuilder and former Mr Universe Prem Chand Dogra. Senior party leader and lawyer HS Phoolka was also present at the event.