AHEAD OF the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections in 2017, some non-resident Indians (NRIs), too, have been started vying for tickets from political parties. At least three NRIs from Hoshiarpur district, which is known as the “NRI belt” of Punjab, have already renounced their foreign citizenships to contest the upcoming elections. All the three have joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and are hoping to contest from Hoshiarpur, Dasuya and Tanda assembly constituencies.
Several other NRIs, who own substantial chunks of property in India and are keen on philanthropic initiatives for their native areas, have also assured them of support.
Amarpal Singh, who was a Canadian citizen and has been living in British Columbia for the past 23 years, has given up his Canadian citizenship to acquire Indian citizenship after meeting all the formalities, including remaining in India for a particular time period.
Amarpal Singh, who hails from Hoshiarpur and belongs to the Jatt Sikh community, is hoping to contest the elections from Hoshiarpur on an AAP ticket.
“I have been in regular contact with Hoshiarpur ever since I went to Canada and have been visiting here regularly and have never felt away from here,” said he adding that it pains when you see that people here have not even got the basic amenities after so many years of Independence. “I wanted to work for the public and decided to renounced my Canadian citizenship so that I can live here permanently to work for my people,” said he. Hoshiarpur assembly constituency is a general seat and Amarpal is hopeful to get ticket from here.
NRI Manjit Singh Dasuya, who is a businessman in the US and had held an important post to look after the party affairs there, also gave up his US citizenship. He joined AAP two months ago. Dasuya is hoping to contest on AAP ticket either from Tanda or Dasuya assembly constituency.
Although his native village is Tanda, adjacent to Dasuya sub-division, he now lives in Dasuya.
In the past, several Vidhan Sabha elections of Punjab, Dasuya has not only supported SAD financially but also he used to return here for campaigning purpose during elections.
Dasuya said he feels that what the other parties could not deliver to the people as well as NRIs for years, AAP can do it.
Dasuya had fallen out with the Akali leadership after he was removed from the party post after the parliamentary elections. After taking his overseas party workers into confidence, he joined AAP.
Party may give him Dasuya constituency ticket because from Tanda, there is already another NRI who has made a strong claim for ticket.
The third NRI who give up his US Citizenship is Jasbir Singh Raja from Tanda Urmur.
Raja said he has lived in the US for the past 17 years but was a frequent visitor to Punjab. He said he decided to join AAP just because he wanted to work for the down-trodden and poor people. “I have been helping the people of my area in every possible way including getting appointed school teachers in government schools where the children from economically weaker sections study and want to continue social work,” he said. Asked whether he would contest from Tanda constituency, the Jatt Sikh leader of AAP said whatever responsibility he gets, “it would be the party’s decision.”