By Sushil Kutty
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has promised Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi that he will “personally look into” former AAP leader Kumar Vishwas’s allegations that Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal sups with terrorists and separatists and wanted to become “first Prime Minister of Khalistan.”
The Congress led by CM-face Channi and AAP led by CM face Bhagwant Singh Mann are both claiming victory come March 10, with the BJP-led NDA alluding to a third alternative triumph.
Now, we have “sweet terrorist” Kejriwal, one-time self-proclaimed “anarchist”, in the thick of a controversy courtesy Kumar Vishwas, who let it out that Kejriwal can’t be trusted—he will ditch Mann and crown himself Chief Minister Punjab, which is his plan right from when Punjab went to polls in 2017.
Jolted out of his reverie, Kejriwal says, even if what Vishwas is spouting is true, it only goes to show there are “sweet terrorists” and he happens to be the sweetest of them all.
Mind you, “Kejriwal the terrorist” started hogging headlines when reports came of a AAP victory come March 10, shattering calculations that the Congress will ace AAP and then Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu will be scrambling for plum post.
In ordinary circumstances, Kumar Vishwas claiming Arvind Kejriwal is separatist-sympathizer would have been dismissed with a couple of clicks of the fingers. But not when it’s a close run fight to elect a new state government. Everybody wants to lay claim to alter Punjab for the better, even Pakistan saying it has a stake.
Mind you, there are Khalistanis in Pakistan who keep popping out of Islamabad’s woodwork every now and then. Ordinarily, such Vishwas-type allegations would translate to dollops of salt and jokes over a couple of Patiala—“Terrorist Kejriwal, yeah we’ve heard that!”
But things are serious. Channi wrote to Shah and the Home Minister was intent and sure like a hammer-head poised above a nail head. He replied to Channi promptly, saying that the allegations of Kejriwal’s links with pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) would be investigated.
Channi says the good folks of Punjab cannot be left to the mercies of a separatist in sheep’s attire. The Punjab Chief Minister backed his claim with a “letter from the banned SFJ”, in which the SFJ claimed it was in constant touch with the AAP.
Not from yesterday or a year ago, but from as early as the 2017 Punjab assembly elections, which is also Kumar Vishwas’s claim. Not just Kumar Vishwas, but that of a gaggle of the “original AAP”, including “farmer leader” Yogendra Yadav and “actor” Gul Panag.
The important thing is Shah promising to look into the allegations “personally and seriously.” Channi wrote to Shah February 18. Shah replied promptly. “The Government of India is taking this issue seriously and I will personally look into the matter in depth,” he wrote. “As per your letter, a political party being in contact with and seeking support from an anti-national, separatist and banned outfit during elections is a serious matter in the context of national security.”
The impression going around is that both the Congress and the BJP believe that the Johnny come lately (AAP) hasn’t any sense of national security. “The agenda of such people is no different from the agenda of the nation’s enemies. (Some people) in order to attain power, can go to the extent of teaming up with separatists.” Shah wrote.
Channi also asked PM Narendra Modi to order a probe into allegations Kejriwal hobnobbed with Khalistanis. AAP rubbished the allegations and asked Vishwas to “stay out of Punjab”, prompting Vishwas to claim a threat to his life. Reports are that the Centre will bend.
But if Kumar gets his flanks protected, it’s Arvind Kejriwal who is under fire. The whole thing now boils down to whether Shah should be believed. The Modi Government is not great on follow-ups. Especially Prime Minister Modi, whose promises are made for the proverbial “promises are made to break.”
The long and short of it is that if Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi hadn’t written to Shah, the Union Home Ministry wouldn’t have taken Kumar Vishwas “seriously.”
So, it’s up to if and when Shah “personally” looks into it. Kejriwal says he’s the “sweet terrorist” who builds schools, hospitals, fixes electricity problems. I am the world’s first ‘sweet’ terrorist,” He tweeted. “The British used to fear Bhagat Singh and that is why he was called a terrorist. I am a disciple of Bhagat Singh.” Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is not amused. (IPA Service)