February 27, 2016 12:23:20 pm
Black flags and protests greeted Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal during his Punjab visit on Friday. Kejriwal faced protests by SAD and BJP workers at Teja Ruhela and Mhatam Nagar villages in Fazilka, while SAD workers shouted slogans against him at Paakan village, which falls in Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal’s constituency.
However, at the house of Bheem Tank, the murdered Dalit youth, he was welcomed by BJP state secretary Sandeep Rinwa. Kejriwal announced a job for Bheem’s family in Delhi.
At Paakan, his speech was also disrupted by Congress workers, some of whom even clashed with AAP workers on the spot. The village has four families in which farmers had committed suicide but during Kejriwal’s visit none of the families could be seen. Sources said all of them had been taken away, citing cheque distribution.
Meanwhile, despite the protests, Kejriwal’s public meetings attracted large gatherings.
AAP leaders, including Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Bhagwant Mann, called the protesters “goondas of (deputy CM) Sukhbir Singh Badal”.
Talking to the gathering at Paakan, Kejriwal said, “Similar goons of the BJP were doing such activities in Delhi before the Delhi Assembly polls and one can see the result.”
Kejriwal added, “Let Sukhbir Badal organise protests against me. He will see the miracle in 2017 polls, when there will be no opposition (for AAP) at all in the Vidhan Sabha.”
BJP’s Rinwa, meanwhile, clarified his presence at Taank’s residence. He said, “I have come here to express solidarity with the family and not as a BJP leader but I am upset with the state government, who turned a blind eye towards this family. Till date, only Rs 12 lakh has been given by the Centre. Now, AAP should also help them out.”
Some local SAD leaders, including Lakhwinder Lohiwala and Dharampal, said, “When he has not fulfilled even a single promise in Delhi, why he has come in Punjab? To disturb peace? He is encouraging groupism in villages due to which tension and clashes will happen in future and peace in Punjab will be disturbed.”
Gurpreet Singh, another villager from Paakan, said, “This is an Akali village and we want to show Kejriwal our strength.”
Sources said Akali flags had appeared over houses in this village barely two hours before Kejriwal’s visit.
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