Chandigarh: The Punjab Congress on Monday termed Arvind Kejriwal’s desperate attempt to project himself as a Punjabi a huge insult to Punjabiyat.
Kejriwal, in a last-ditch effort to get rid of his 'outside tag', is now resorting to the most scandalous of ways to remain in the reckoning for the state Assembly elections, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) said in a statement issued here.
It is evident that Kejriwal is completely clueless about what Punjabiyat even stands for, said PPCC leaders Laal Singh, Sukh Sarkaria and Jagmohan Singh Kang, reacting to a statement by Jagmeet Brar, an ally of the AAP leader. Brar had on Sunday said that Kejriwal was a Punjabi as he was born before the formation of Haryana in undivided Punjab. Jagmeet Brar, a former Congress leader, had recently floated Lok Hit Abhiyan and allied with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“Punjabiyat is an ethos, a culture, a set of values. It’s not about being born on a certain piece of land but about being imbued with the spirit of its soil,” said the PPCC leaders.
“Let us not undermine Punjabiyat by calling every Tom, Dick and Harry a Punjabi,” the Punjab Congress leaders said, adding that undivided Punjab was a chapter in history and what is at stake in the coming Assembly elections is the future of our state. Lakhs and lakhs of people were born in undivided Punjab but that neither gave them the right, nor did they claim to be Punjabis on that count.
The PPCC leaders pointed out that Kejriwal had, time and again, exposed his lack of even basic knowledge of Punjab. “How can such a person claim to be a Punjabi,” they asked.
Kejriwal, they said, appeared to be quite frustrated at not getting the response he had hoped for from the people of Punjab and was now trying to find other ways to connect with them.
Just a few weeks ago, PPCC president Captain Amarinder Singh had asserted that anyone aspiring to be the Chief Minister of Punjab should have his roots in the state’s culture and ethos as Punjabi pride and self-respect will not allow the rule by an “outsider”.
“It is the question of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat which only a Punjabi can feel and understand,” he had said, after Kejriwal’s announcement that Anandpur Sahib would be made a holy city if voted to power in the state. Clearly, Kejriwal did not even have the basic knowledge that both Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib were already officially declared holy cities, the PPCC president had said.
The extent of Kejriwal’s disconnect with the people of Punjab is also reflected in his stand on the SYL issue, which is close to the hearts of the people, the PPCC leaders further pointed out. The AAP leader had openly taken contradictory stands on the SYL issue, having opposed the construction of the canal at a May 2016 meeting in Ropar and then doing a flip-flop, just three days later, to declare that there should be “no politics on water and everyone, whether Punjab, Haryana or Delhi, should get water.”