2022 Punjab polls: Kejriwal says AAP’s CM face will be a Sikh
AMRITSAR: Ahead of 2022 assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that the party’s CM candidate in Punjab will be from the Sikh community.
Replying to a question during a press conference after inducting former Inspector General of Punjab Police, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, into the party at Circuit House, Kejriwal said, “I totally agree with your curiosity and keenness on this issue… because Punjab is annoyed with the current leadership and looking for a new kind of leadership. In wake of this, discussions within the party are underway to choose the CM face. You will be informed when time will come, and you will be proud of the party choice”.
He added, “However, it is certain that the AAP CM face for Punjab will be from Sikh community. Because we feel that Punjab is the only state across the world, which gets Sikh CM. I feel that this is a right of the Sikh community, and this right should be upheld.”
However, former minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia said it was condemnable that Kejriwal was talking about giving a “Sikh face” in Punjab as its chief ministerial candidate but had not picked even a single Sikh face in Delhi despite forming the government thrice.
Kejriwal also said he had lot of respect for dissident Congress bigwig Navjot Singh Sidhu. When asked if there was any possibility of Sidhu joining the AAP and if there had been any talks with the Congress leader, who has opened front against Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh with harsh attacks, Kejriwal said, “Sidhu Sahib is a senior Congress leader. I respect him very much. We should not indulge in loose talks about this kind of leader.”
Speaking about his meeting with Sidhu, the Delhi CM said, “Whenever anything happens, you will be informed first.”
Flanked by AAP’s Punjab unit president and MP Bhagwant Mann, state affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh, co-incharge Raghav Chadha, leader of the opposition in Punjab assembly Harpal Singh Cheema and party MLAs from the state, Kejriwal welcomed the former IPS officer into the party fold. The former senior officer opted for voluntary retirement on April 11, two days after the report prepared by the special investigation team (SIT) led by him in the Kotkapura firing incident, in which Sikh protesters were injured in 2015, was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana high court. The court directed the state government to reconstitute a new SIT without Kunwar Vijay Pratap.
“He has remained a dedicated cop of the common people, who struggled to get justice for the people of Punjab in the Bargari sacrilege case,” Kejriwal said, adding, “The entire Punjab is watching how the masterminds of the Bargari sacrilege and the Kotkapura firing case were roaming freely. When he was unable to do anything while being there in the system, he resigned. It is not an easy task.”
The AAP national convener also announced that the culprits of the Bargari sacrilege case would be put behind bars if his party came to the power in the state. He added that the people of Punjab were fed up with the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal and wanted change.
“The people of Punjab gave chances to all three parties, but nothing changed…,” he said while appealing to the people to give one chance to his party to usher in a change in the state.
“If Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji could not get justice on the land of Punjab then what would be the condition of the common man,” said Kunwar Vijay Pratap, thanking the party leadership for inducting him into the party.
Reacting on the former IPS officer’s induction into the AAP, Majithia said Kunwar Vijay Pratap’s entry into the AAP proved Kejriwal was “an integral part of the conspiracy” to malign the SAD in the cases of sacrilege. He said it was condemnable that a former “tainted” cop, who had “misused his position to conduct a biased and politically motivated probe” into the Kotkapura firing incident, was rewarded by AAP. “Custodial interrogation of the former police officer is also needed to expose the AAP-Congress conspiracy,” he added.
Bhagwant Mann said, “People had hoped after Kunwar Vijay Pratap’s appointment as the head of SIT probing the Bargari sacrilege case, that the culprits would definitely be punished. But the system is corrupt, and the ruling party is working in collusion to save the real culprits.”
Later in the day, Kejriwal also visited Golden Temple and Durgiana Temple.
He was shown black flags by SAD workers when he was on the way from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport to Circuit House.
Kunwar Vijay Partap has served as the Amritsar city senior superintendent of police and was also the deputy inspector general (DIG), border range. He came to limelight as the investigator in the cases of Kotakapura firing incident and Behbal Kalan Police firing incident in 2015 when two Sikh protesters were killed. The protesters were seeking justice in the Bargari sacrilege case, which has turned into one of the biggest political issues in Punjab at the moment.