The AAP on Friday invited internationally acclaimed agricultural economist Dr Sardara Singh Johl, also chancellor of Central University in Bathinda, to the party. However, they had to return empty-handed after Johl said “there was no question of me joining AAP.”
The AAP team led by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal included Bhagwant Mann, HS Phoolka, Sanjay Singh, Gurpreet Ghuggi, among others reached Johl’s residence in Gurdev Nagar at around 6.30 pm.
Johl, speaking to The Indian Express after the meeting, said, “He (Kejriwal) expressed his wish to meet me and asked for an appointment. I welcome everyone at my place, be it Kejriwal or anyone. I told him I belong to no party and there is no question of joining AAP.”
Asked if he was offered CM post by AAP, Johl, “They may want it but I am a chancellor of a university right now and a professional. I can’t say if they offered it to me or not but in any case I am not accepting it. They might have come to have some political talks with me but I told Kejriwal in the first line that I won’t like to discuss it. He is my guest like a common man, not a politician.”
Sources privy to the proccedings during the meeting told The Indian Express that AAP tried to convince Johl to join their party as ‘they need an intellectual who can help them in building new Punjab’ but Johl politely declined the offer. He said he ‘did not want to be tagged or associated with any political party and is happy being an educationist’.
However, Johl claimed, “Our discussions were all related to food and farmers’ crisis going on in Punjab. They wanted my inputs on agrarian crisis.”
When pointed out he is known to be a Congress loyalist, Johl said, “Its not true. Check my Facebook, I keep writing against every party.”
Padma Bhushan awardee Dr SS Johl had earlier served as vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Punjabi University, Patiala. He also served as consultant to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, World Bank and Economic Commission for West Asia in many countries. Actively involved with the government of India in policy making on food and agrarian crisis, Johl has also served as the president, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, among others.