The current controversy in Punjab unit of AAP, which is now taking shape of Punjabis versus outsiders after Sucha Singh Chhottepur’s removal from the post of state convener, has apparently started eroding the party’s NRI support base, which played a crucial role in its 2014 performance in Punjab elections.
In fact, it was after the 2014 results and the role played by the NRIs for AAP , not only in funding the party but also campaigning for it and asking their relatives and friends back home to vote for it, that Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress also started making desperate attempts to woo, albeit, without much success.
However, what other parties could not do in denting its support base among NRIs, the current crisis in the state unit has done. “A large section of Punjabi NRIs are confused and disappointed while several h ave eve n drawn a clear line that they would not send any funds or canvass for the party unless the pending crisis is resolved,” says Amandeep Singh Boparai, who left his well-paid job in a big company in the US to work for the party in Punjab. Boparai also runs NGO `Jeevan Asha’ to help distressed farmers that has helpline dedicated to them. He was among the first Punjabis in San Francisco to set up a unit there.
“I will stand by Punjab. Our first commitment is to Punjab and not to AAP. That only comes second in the priority . We were supporting AAP and Arvind Kejriwal as it appeared that they could be good for Punjab but now it is coming out that here the agenda is different. We shall support the party only if hegemony of leaders from Delhi is minimized and Kejriwal confines his role only in defining the guidelines and the Delhi leaders also work under the same param eters which they are pro pounding for others,” he adds. Boparai says that people like him were not working for the party to promote the Delhi-based individuals but the ideas and clean leaders of Punjab.Dilawar Chahal, who lives in San Jose of California, says that he had been sending funds for the party in and had even motivated his friends for the purpose. “We sent money not only for Punjab in Lok Sabha election but also for other places. However, now AAP leaders should not expect anything from us. Punjab unit should have separate account as money which we were sending was meant for Punjab and not for Goa or other places,” he adds.His FB wall also makes clear the shift in his stand. He also points out that he got no receipt for the money senrt for campaigning of two Punjab candidates.
Yet, all is not lost for the party as is clear from the FB wall of AAP’s Canada unit convener Jaskirat Mann. Her latest posts extend full support to the party and the stand of its central leadership. However, her posts have also attracted strong dissenting remarks on her wall. When contacted, AAP’s Punjab NRI cell convener Jagtar Singh Sanghera refused to comment.All is not lost for AAP as is clear from the FB wall of AAP’s Canada unit convener Jaskirat Mann. Her latest posts extend full support to the party and the stand of its central leadership. Her posts, however, have also got strong dissenting remarks on her wall.
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