By advocating the release of Bathinda native and convict Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and supporting various Sikh issues, Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has given new wings to the political ambitions of Sikh hardliners in the Malwa region.
While some Malwa-based Sikh hardliners have been showing signs of coming back to the mainstream politics through the Aam Aadmi Party, it can also affect the political equations ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the region which, by and large, has remained a stronghold of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
While a meeting between the AAP and United Sikh Movement (USM), a body founded by former Sikh hardliners, is scheduled to be held in Delhi on Saturday, another Sikh radical leader in Malwa, Baljit Singh Daduwal, has sought time from Kejriwal to honour him in a gathering of one lakh Sikhs for supporting their issues.
Gurdeep Singh Brar, general secretary, USM, said, "We will hold a meeting with Anant Kumar of AAP on Saturday to appraise him on Sikh issues. We will ask them to effect a change in the Constitution in order to establish a separate Sikh identity. Justice to the riot victims and release of Sikh prisoners are the issues we have been expecting the AAP to support," said Brar.
USM is founded by the former Khalistan supporters, including Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhagwan Singh, a close friend of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Brar had joined hands with the SAD before the 2012 state elections and was also appointed vice-chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation. However, the alliance did not last long after the SAD won the elections and now Brar is criticising the SAD-BJP government for ignoring Sikh issues.
Brar had also shared the stage with Anna Hazare during his Jantantra Yatra's stay in Bathinda last year.
Besides, radical Sikh leader Baljit Singh Daduwal, known for his stiff opposition to the Dera Sacha Sauda, wants to honour Kejriwal. "I want to honour Kejriwal for supporting Sikh issues, which were never addressed by any other political party. We have been seeking time from them. We are in touch with the Sikh affairs wing of AAP. Whenever Kejriwal is free, we will honour him in a gathering of one lakh Sikhs for supporting the Sikh cause," said Daduwal.
He said, "We can extend issue-based support to AAP. The Congress and SAD have proved a failure and have used Sikh issues for the sake of politics."
Dal Khalsa leader Kanwar Pal Singh said, "At this juncture, we can say Sikhs will have to tread cautiously in dealing with AAP."
He said both the recent Sikh issues-related decisions of AAP had gone down well within a section of Sikhs. However, whether it was a poll gimmick of AAP or a genuine effort to "correct the wrongs done to Sikhs", only time would tell, he added.
Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, said, "AAP is being supported by the Congress in Delhi. The Congress is an anti-Sikh party. I don't see AAP solving Sikh issues."