Chandigarh: Thronged by hundreds of people, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday started a three-day political tour of Punjab with prayers at two famous shrines in this Sikh holy city.
A lone protestor threw some pamphlets towards Mr Kejriwal as he stepped out of the Golden Temple complex, blaming the AAP leader for the razing of a ‘piao’ (drinking water point) outside the historical Sis Ganj Gurdwara in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area.
The man was taken away by security personnel as an unfazed Mr Kejriwal continued with his programme. Mr Kejriwal offered prayers at the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Harmandar Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, and later went to the nearby Hindu Durgiana Temple. This is Mr Kejriwal’s second tour of a longer duration to Punjab this year. He made a five-day trip to various parts of Punjab in February.
The visits are in connection with the assembly elections to be held in Punjab in February next year for which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is posing a serious challenge to the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine and the opposition Congress. The AAP leader’s visit to the state started under the shadow of an AAP legislator in Delhi, Naresh Yadav, being named in a case filed over the sacrilege of Quran, the holy book of Islam, in Punjab’s Muslim dominated town of Malerkotla in Sangrur district recently.
Mr Yadav has been booked by Punjab Police in the conspiracy behind the sacrilege incident. The AAP legislator is the party’s co-incharge for Punjab affairs. AAP leaders say the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government of trying to implicate its leaders in false cases.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday refused to be drawn into the controversy over the criminal case against the AAP legislator saying that the police were investigating the matter. During Mr Kejriwal’s visit, the AAP leadership will focus on youth and other categories of voters in Punjab, whose 117 assembly seats go to polls early next year. The AAP has four MPs in the Lok Sabha from Punjab. Two of them are under suspension from the party.