A week after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came under attack from the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance and the Congress for printing its symbol, the broom, with the image of the Golden Temple on its youth manifesto and equating it with Guru Granth Sahib, party leader HS Phoolka performed “sewa (service)” and apologised at the Akal Takht on Sunday.
Phoolka, who reached the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in a simple white kurta-pyjama and sky blue turban at 3am, went straight to the ‘langar ghar (community kitchen)’ and washed utensils for 45 minutes.
Next, he washed the floor of the langar hall for an hour with a broom that resembled the party symbol to atone for the “unintentional mistake” of hurting Sikh sentiments.
At 5am, Phoolka, who is fighting for justice for victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, headed for the Akal Takht. After paying obeisance, he apologised on behalf of the AAP.
PUNJAB AAP’S MISTAKE
Later, he said, “Our leader Arvind Kejriwal is not at fault but as party leader, he will also be performing sewa on July 18. The manifesto cover was an unintentional mistake of the Punjab AAP team. The Akali Dal is politicising the issue.”
“Today, the Akalis are demanding Kejriwal’s resignation as Delhi chief minister but where were they when Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia distorted the ‘shabad (sacred verse)’ of the 10th Sikh Guru while canvassing for Amritsar BJP MP candidate Arun Jaitley in 2014? Did Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal apologise or resign? Was a case registered against Majithia? Wasn’t it a more serious lapse,” he said.
Majithia apologised after the issue led to a controversy in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
SECOND ROUND OF SEWA
At 11.30am, Phoolka was back at the Golden Temple’s Joda Ghar (place where devotees leave their shoes) to perform sewa. After cleaning shoes for an hour in the humid afternoon, he left the Golden Temple sweating.
He was accompanied by about 60 AAP volunteers. No leader from the Delhi or Punjab AAP team was present.