Chandigarh, October 5: Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia who has been the main target of attack from Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal and his associates has now started confronting him at the grassroots through mass mobilisation. He is now in action.
He today organised a massive road show from Mohali culminating at Patiala, the home town of Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh.
Christened ‘Buland Tiranga Yatra’, the show had been organised to express solidarity with the armed forces following the surgical strike across the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir by the special forces last week-end. After all, Punjab is the sword arm of Hindustan. It may be mentioned that while appreciating the action, Kejriwal had also tried to hit at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by asking the government to release evidence to set at rest all doubts being raised by some people within the country and outright denial by Pakistan.
In the process, he has also targeted Capt Amarinder Singh saying he had had expected total support to the armed forces by the former chief minister who himself is ex-serviceman. The issue of release of evidence has become a highly controversial issue.
However, in case of Majithia, the basic issue is that of launching counter attack on AAP in general and Kejriwal in particular through massive shows of strength.
It may be mentioned that AAP has been referring to its Bagha Purana rally in Moga district where its farmers’ manifesto was released by Kejriwal as evidence of its mass support being intact despite the turbulence that it is facing in the state. Its former state chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur has floated Apna Punjab Party that is becoming nucleus for all those who had parted company with AAP or were pushed out. It may be mentioned that majority of the founder members of AAP in Punjab have left it. Two of its four MPs are under suspension for months. Despite these developments, the party seemed to be in a position to dictate political discourse in the state. However, the situation is changing.
Majithia has earlier organised a massive show last week at Muktsar. It was a youth conference and the mobilisation was impressive. He has once again demonstrated his capacity to mobilise people through these two shows of strength.
Majithia said, “Punjabis have always stood by our army and will continue to do so. This is the time to show support to our army who are protecting us. Buland Tiranga Yartra is a response to the people who are questioning the authenticity of surgical strikes and demeaning our army. This rally is a small gesture to say thanks to our brave army”.
The Yatra culminated in a blood donation camp at Patiala.
Significantly, this perhaps is the first such public support organised by any party for the army action. Apart from giving a befitting reply to AAP, it has to be seen in the context of the controversial order asking people in the border belt to evacuate their villages. Majority of people just refused to move out as these villagers too are war veterans having seen wars earlier when they did not move out. Punjab has been a different scenario.
Evacuation amounted to creating war hysteria while the army is still in the barracks. There has been no convincing logic coming from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for this order. Badal faced hostile villagers during his tour to these villages.
There is yet another aspect. These two shows are to be assesses in the framework of the attack on the drug issue. The impression that has gone out even at the global level is that majority of the youth in the state are druggists.
AAP has its main support base among the youth in Punjab and it is this very section that Majithia is mobilising against Kejriwal. His stand on army action has put Kejriwal on defensive. It is a different matter that it is the Modi government that tried to extract political mileage by announcing this action. It was for the first time that DGMO held a press conference to announce it.
In case of war, the main theatre would be Punjab. People in this state have faced such situations earlier too. This is the reason that the cry for peace is all the more louder in the two Punjabs across the Radcliffe line. It is peace that must prevail as war is always anti-people. The hawks should listen to the peaceniks too in two Punjabs. They suffered the worst during partition and subsequent wars.
In Punjab, the situation has come to be linked with February 2017 Assembly elections. It is Majithia who is now out to confront the two parties through people’s mobilisation. The person who has been under attack has now gone into offensive mode. Offence is the best defence.