Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit the Golden Temple (Harmandar Sahib) in Amritsar on July 18 to carry out sewa (service), in apparent atonement after the party was accused of disrespecting the shrine and religious texts by gaffes on its youth manifesto.
After the release of the manifesto on Sunday during Kejriwal’s previous visit to Amritsar, the party faced flak from the ruling SAD-BJP and some religious bodies for using its symbol, the broom, with a picture of the Golden temple on its cover page. And its leader Ashish Khetan has since been booked for his statement that said the manifesto was as sacred as Guru Granth Sahib, Gita and Bible to the party.
Party leader HS Phoolka, who had already announced plans to seek forgiveness from the Akal Takht and do the sewa on behalf of the party, said “As a humble servant and a true aam aadmi (common man), Kejriwal will perform sewa at Harmandar Sahib.”
When asked whether Kejriwal will offer an apology during his visit to Golden Temple, Phoolka said, “I can just say that he is coming to perform sewa.”
It is learnt that Kejriwal, after performing sewa at ‘langar ghar (community kitchen), will also perform sewa at ‘jora ghar’.
As the party and especially Kejriwal is facing severe criticism from political and panthic fronts for using the picture of Golden temple and party symbol broom on the cover page of its manifesto, demands were rising that the Delhi chief minister must come to the shrine and feel sorry.
Kejriwal’s party colleague and spokesperson Ashish Khetan has already been booked by the Amritsar police for equating the party’s youth manifesto with Guru Granth Sahib. A case under section 295-A was registered against him at Police Station Civil Lines on the complaint of All India Sikh student Federation president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad.
Khetan too has apologised. It was not immediately clear if he would come with Kejriwal, who will leave the same evening. Exact schedule is being worked out, said a party spokesman.
MP Bhagwant Mann and the party’s state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur will be among the leadership accompany Kejriwal.