Emulating Aam Aadmi Party, Congress on Tuesday flagged off an ‘NRI Express’, a bus-load of Non-Resident Indians who would support the party in its pursuit to wrest power after losing two consecutive terms.
The bus was flagged off by senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad and party’s Punjab incharge Asha Kumari in Chandigarh.
As many as 400 NRIs will campaign for Congress in several parts of Punjab, said NRI Daljit Sahota who was leading the group of Non-resident Indians, originally from Punjab.
He said the NRIs have come from several countries including Canada and the UK.
Few days back, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh had said NRIs, who originally hail from Punjab and are settled in other countries, would campaign in favour of the party in upcoming assembly polls to “save Punjab”.
To a query, Asha Kumari said those NRIs who will be campaigning for Congress are the members of Indian National Overseas Congress.
“NRIs, who have come here, had expressed wish that they would campaign for Congress party for about 10 days before the (February 4) assembly polls. And then Karan Singh, Chairman of Indian National Overseas Congress gave permission to them,” said Kumari.
Asked whether NRIs have right to campaign during polls, Shakeel Ahmad said, “It is not that the relation of people who leave the country for work in other nations cease to exist. They continue to love their motherland till they are alive.”
Ahmad denied the allegation of having “double standard” when the Punjab Congress chief lodged a complaint with the Election Commission regarding AAP bringing foreign nationals here.
“He (Sahota) is saying some terrorists were also brought (from abroad),” Ahmad said.
When asked about “the terrorists”, Sahota said he did not take any name.
“I said they go to meet terrorists in Gurdwara,” Sahota said. He further alleged that they were funded by “separatists”.
Earlier, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh had written to EC saying that AAP had inducted more than 27,000 persons of Punjabi-origin settled elsewhere.
Few days back, Congress leader Anand Sharma had asked AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal to explain the source of its foreign funding and had also accused one of his MLAs having shared stage with “separatists and terrorist elements” in London.