Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh sought clarification from Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his party and Punjab Assembly Opposition leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira statement on “Sikh Referendum 2020”.
Capt Amarinder Singh said Khaira seemed to be “indulging in his usual political antics and theatrics, without any sense of the history of Punjab or any realisation of the possible consequences of his statement or act”.
Mr @ArvindKejriwal I strongly condemn the statement of your LOP @SukhpalKhaira supporting Referendum 2020 that aims for Punjab to secede from the Indian Union. Please clarify your stand on this & ask your partymen to act responsibly. Do see what this Referendum stands for👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/cX8MOsVR1w
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 16, 2018
He demanded to know whether Khaira’s statement had the backing of the AAP central leadership led by Arvind Kejriwal, or if he was “going on a personal tangent, either out of sheer ignorance or to promote some vested personal interests”.
He said this was important considering the fact that Kejriwal himself had been hobnobbing with pro-Khalistanis while campaigning for the Punjab elections last year.
Distancing the party from Khaira’s statement, the co-convener of the state AAP unit, Dr Balbir Singh, said: “We stand for the unity and territorial integrity of India, and do not support any kind of referendum that breaks the country.” He said the party would initiate action against Khaira after examining the video footage of his interaction with the media to ascertain the context of his remark.
Another senior party leader, Aman Arora, said, “AAP is against any kind of violence and bloodshed and stands for a united, strong, secular, educated, healthy and corruption-free India and will strive for that.
“Supporting ‘Referendum 2020’ may be an individual’s view, but not of the party whose ideology will never back such a stand.”
Joining issue, former Punjab BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia accused Khaira of doublespeak in simultaneously supporting ‘Sikh Referendum 2020’ and expressing allegiance to the Constitution of India.
Although I’m not a votary of 2020 referendum seeking a separate homeland for Sikhs but i don’t hesitate to say that it’s a result of a consistent policy of bias,discrimination n persecution of Sikhs ever since partition,be it attack on Darbar Sahib,genocide of Sikhs in 1984 etc!
— Sukhpal Singh Khaira (@SukhpalKhaira) June 16, 2018
In his statement issued on Saturday, Khaira said although he did not agree with the referendum, it was due to the “consistent policy of persecution of Sikhs that they have been pushed to the brink to demand a separate homeland for themselves”. Therefore, he said, the Government of India must review its “anti-Sikh policies and instead apply balm on the injuries inflicted upon the Sikh psyche”.