With eyes set on the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, a delegation of AAP leaders has flown to Canada to woo the NRI Punjabi diaspora settled in the North American country in a bid to strengthen the party’s voter base in the state as well as attract overseas donation.
Top AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, also the party’s Punjab affairs in-charge, and Ashutosh along with leaders from the state have started holding dialogues with Punjab natives. Incidentally, it is Singh’s second visit to Canada this year.
“The trip is meant for interaction and engagement with those who belong to Punjab,” Ashutosh said over phone.
When contacted, a party leader said, “Canada is to the people of Punjab what Delhi and Mumbai are to Biharis and UPiites. A lot of migrant population from the state is settled in Canada and therefore, households in each village will have have someone or the other working in Canada.”
“The Indians working in Canada not only hold economic power because of the money they send back, but can also influence voters. More importantly, they are also a major source of fund for the party,” the AAP leader said.
Of the overseas donation received by the AAP, major contributors are from the US and Canada.
The party had sought to reach out to Punjab natives in Canada during the Lok Sabha polls as well.
“During such visits, we canvas support for the party and such delegations also help spread party’s tentacles. In fact all the parties do this,” the AAP leader said.
Apart from Canada, a lot of natives from Punjab are also settled in Australia, the US, the UK and Malaysia. AAP is planning to send party delegations in these countries in coming days to garner support and raise funds.
With an aim to wrest power in Punjab after having made its presence felt in the state during the Lok Sabha elections, AAP had recently made structural changes in the state unit, which irked many in the party.
AAP had opened its account in the Lok Sabha by winning four seats in Punjab in 2014 general elections. However, two of its MPs — Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa –have been suspended on the charge of anti-party activities.