Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s public refusal to meet visiting Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan has provided an opportunity to SAD to reconnect with NRIs. Nothwithstanding Captain’s jibe at SAD and SGPC for extending welcome to Sajjan despite the alleged ill-treatment received by SAD leaders in Canada and other European countries in the run-up to 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, both SAD and SGPC have extended full support for Sajjan, who is likely to visit Golden Temple next week. SAD traditionally had bigger support base among NRIs than Congress.
Responding to Captain’s jibe, SAD-ruled SGPC president Kirpal Singh Bhandugar said, “There is history of confrontation with Afghanistan rulers. But we recently extended warm welcome to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani during his visit to Golden Temple. He is the president and we were supposed to welcome him.”
“We are not concerned about the past of Harjit Singh Sajjan. We know he is a high dignitary and a Sikh. We will officially welcome Captain Amarinder Singh whenever he visits Golden Temple as the Chief Minister of Punjab. Political differences do not matter when SGPC decides to welcome some high dignitary,” he said.
Former SAD MLA from Khemkaran and former militant Virsa Singh Valtoha said, “Amarinder Singh alleges that Harjit Singh Sajjan’s father was founder member of World Sikh Organisation and hence he perceives Sajjan as a Khalistani sympathizer. Going by that logic, I have been called Khalistani and terrorist in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Congress’s Patti MLA Harminder Singh Gill was also co-accused in many cases during the militancy period. Former Congress MLA Ajit Inder Singh Mofar too remains accused in many such cases. Demand for Khalistan is the official political agenda of Simranjit Singh Mann and he is a close relative of the Captain Amarinder Singh. Going by logic, Amarinder Singh is also Khalistani sympathizer.”
“We all know Amarinder Singh takes things personally. He faced opposition in Canada and so he decided to oppose Sajjan to take revenge. It is not political line of Congress, but the personal line of Amarinder Singh. Sajjan has made every Punjabi and Sikh proud and he should be warmly welcomed in Punjab,” said Valtoha.