The first elected Sikh councillor of France and the deputy mayor of Normandy, Vivek Pal Singh, has joined the campaign for his father, Akali candidate Gen JJ Singh (retd), against erstwhile royal Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress for Patiala Urban seat in the Punjab assembly polls to be held on February 4.
Already, members of the royal family led by the sitting MLA, Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur, are firing on all cylinders in the quest for victory to state Congress president Amarinder. Their daughter Jai Inder Kaur and granddaughter Seherinder Kaur have also joined the campaign in the nooks and crannies of the Old City area.
Landing from France with his students, Vivek Pal, who is a professor of management and also runs an import-export business, has started connecting with the young voters in particular to bolster the appeal of his father, a former chief of the Indian Army. While he is campaigning, his students are keenly watching the differences between politics of France and that of India, apart from studying small-business models of phulkari, paranda and other traditional crafts.
Talking to HT, Vivek Pal said, “As my father decided to contest polls, it is my moral duty to stand by him. I am convincing voters that the my father has already enjoyed maximum power as a General and then as governor of Arunachal Pradesh, and that he is in Patiala to serve, not to gain power.”
Vivek is also spreading awareness about the turban in France, where it is banned for being an article of faith on public display. “Several times I had to remove my turban, as the law doesn’t permit it. But I am spreading awareness that it is an integral part of Sikhism. People are starting to acknowledge it. I am hopeful that I will effect a change in the law through my convincing power.”
About the tough contest, he said, “Nothing is impossible. I am a Sikh in Normandy and convinced voters to pick me over a French native.”
Not only he, but his sister Urvashi Kaur, a fashion designer from Delhi, and mother Anupama Singh, are already campaigning for Gen Singh.