August 27, 2021 7:40:43 am
AT A time when the ruling Congress in Punjab is the middle of a major tussle between Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made only a brief statement against the recent views expressed by Sidhu’s advisor on Kashmir, without any reference to Amarinder.
Controversial remarks by Sidhu’s two advisers — Malvinder Singh Mali and Pyare Lal Garg — on sensitive issues like Kashmir and Pakistan came under sharp criticism from within the Congress and Opposition. In a social media post, Mali had waded into the issue of revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. He had reportedly said if Kashmir was a part of India, then what was the need to have Articles 370 and 35A. He had also said, “Kashmir is a country of Kashmiri people.”
Asked about the comment, Kejriwal said, “Such comments are incorrect. Punjab is a border state. Every statement should be very calculated and made with responsibility.”
He added: “I had come across some statements regarding Kashmir and nation. We are one from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Nobody can break us. We don’t want to do any politics on these issues. We want Punjab where everyone can grow irrespective of religion and caste.”
AAP state president Bhagwant Mann also remained silent on the issue during Kejriwal’s visit. Recently, his supporters had demanded that he be named the party’s CM candidate in Punjab.
AAP workers from different groups within the party are have recently had several exchanges on social media. While Mann’s supporters want him as CM candidate or warned of consequences, others are saying that Kejriwal is the real leader and his decision will be accepted to all.
Mann’s supporters also uploaded a video on social media just before Kejriwal’s visit to Gurdaspur and ask him to declare Mann as the CM face.
There were rumours that Kejriwal’s visit to Punjab was about more than just the induction of Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) leader and former Punjab minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan. Supporters of Mann hoped that Kejriwal would use this occasion to end the confusion over who will be AAP’s CM candidate in the state.
The party had announced on August 1 that it would announce its CM candidate very soon, however, the the silence of the party high command is making supporters of Mann restless.
Kejriwal also held a meeting with Mann and other leaders in Amritsar before flying back to Delhi. However no official statement was made on the agenda of the meeting.
“There is no dispute in the party. Nobody is has any resentment. Bhagwant Mann is in a meeting with Kejriwal and other party leaders. Rumours are cooked by media and other parties,” said AAP leader in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema.
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