NEW DELHI—In attempt to woo the Sikh vote bank, Aam Aadmi Party’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal has appointed Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh as co-Incharge of party affairs in Punjab. Bhai Jarnail Singh has been also made the spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab.
Sources close to senior AAP leadership in Punjab have said that Arvind Kejriwal has taken the move keeping in view importance of Panthik votes to win the 2017 elections. AAP needs a Sikh face who is respected within Panthik circles to tackle Shiromani Akali Dal on Sikh issues. Jarnail Singh had gained strong hold in Sikh masses by bringing and passing the condemnation resolution of 1984 Sikh genocide in Delhi assembly. AAP’s opponents would find it very difficult to fire upon AAP on Sikh issues.
Notably, MLA Jarnail Singh was a mainstream journalist who had hurled shoe on former Union Home Minister P. Chindambram while questioning him about 1984 Sikh genocide. His move of hurling shoe on P. Chindambram was warmly welcomed by the SGPC at that time and he was also honoured by the SGPC at that time. Similarly, while HS Phoolka, who is also a senior member within AAP has done much work for 1984 Sikh victims, the Akalis have tried to hurt his credibility. However, having honoured Jarnail Singh previously, the Akalis will likely remain tight-lipped about him.
There are also speculations that Kejriwal has appointed Jarnail Singh in Punjab to corner AAP’s state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. Notably, Sucha Singh Chhotepur is on target of AAP’s core leadership as he had objected over the list of candidates issued by AAP for assembly polls. Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who remained absent while announcing first as well as second list of candidates by AAP, had stated that he was unhappy with the Party’s choice of candidates.
He had said that the Party’s core leadership ignored the workers who worked hard to establish AAP in Punjab. Chhotepur said that he would meet Kejriwal to ask him to reconsider the choice of candidates however Sikh24 has learnt that Kejriwal has not given an appointment date to Chhotepur despite several attempts by the latter to see the Delhi CM.
Additionally, there are also talks about United Akali Dal having met with some AAP leaders in Punjab about strategically fielding candidates in some constituencies. AAP is however careful about reputation and closeness of Bhai Mohkam Singh with pro-Badal elements in past, sources told Sikh24. Bhai Mohkam Singh is the president of the United Akali Dal and also played a key role in 2015 Sarbat Khalsa. It is also notable that Arvind Kejriwal personally met with Bhai Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale after the attack on his convoy. Dhadrianwale enjoys a strong support from various parts of Punjab and he will likely also extend support to AAP given inaction by the Akali Government in punishing the masterminds of the attack against him in May 2016.