Have Congress And Sidhu Committed Political Harakiri in Punjab?

With the disposal of Capt Amarinder Singh as CM, instability is writ large in the unfolding future of Punjab. India ought to be very concerned. Some analysts believe that the destabilisation of Punjab might be at the behest of China, which had signed a MoU in 2008 with then Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in Beijing

Blog

By Col Rajinder Singh

Any unrest or instability in the border state of Punjab will lead to serious national security problems. In the last two decades of the 20th century, Punjab suffered heavily because of sponsored militancy by Pakistan. Once again Pakistan is trying hard to revive the Khalistani movement in Punjab. Some top leaders of the state Congress Party might unwittingly become part of Pakistani schism.

Some analysts believe that the destabilisation of Punjab might be at the behest of China with whom then general secretary of the Congress Party Rahul Gandhi had signed a memorandum of understanding on August 07, 2008, in Beijing. The installation of Navjot Singh Sidhu as Congress party chief in Punjab four months ago, and now the removal of Capt Amarinder Singh, a competent and a reputed Congressman, as Chief Minister of Punjab, is seen by most analysts in this light. Therefore, through this disposal of Capt Amarinder Singh, instability is writ large in the unfolding future of Punjab. India ought to be very concerned.

Charanjit Singh Channi was sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab on September 20, 2021. He is a Congressman but the party takes pride in calling him a “Dalit”. Is this the only qualification Channi has? Isn’t it the kind of secularism this party has been thrusting on the country? There should be no doubt about it, if one looks at the vote bank politics of the last 74 years.

It is being stated in some quarters that Channi had converted to Christianity. Do they have “Dalits” among the Christian community? If true, isn’t the Congress making a fool of Punjabis and Dalits by tagging a “Christian” with the “Dalit” card? It is the height of political prostitution of democracy. The state Election Commission should clarify this aspect.

It is being stated in some quarters that Channi had converted to Christianity. Do they have “Dalits” among the Christian community? If true, isn’t the Congress making a fool of Punjabis and Dalits by tagging a “Christian” with the “Dalit” card? It is the height of political prostitution of democracy

By all indications, this change of leadership just 4-5 months before the scheduled assembly elections in the state is a death-knell for the Congress Party in Punjab. The way PCC president Sidhu has played the game, he might become a hit-wicket if at all the Congress does win the polls. It is difficult to imagine that Charanjit Channi would hand over the chief ministership to Sidhu. The “Dalit card” he has played would become a Googly against Sidhu’s political ambitions. If Sidhu and his party think that the state’s 33% Dalits would vote for Congress to make it win, then the same 33% Dalits would rise in rebellion if Sidhu and Congress try to dislodge Channi. Sidhu has committed political Harakiri.

However, it is also an indication that our short-sighted politicians, of all hues, fail to grasp the emerging socio-political trends in the “Globalised world of post-Information era”. The 21st Century is a century of individual aspirations and the rise of the concept of “Individualism”, with its many variants, from individual to communities to regions and religious sects.

I doubt if the people today are committed to ideologies. People vote for personal agendas   and motives. Family, community and regional affinities have been breaking up. Nuclear families have initiated the beginning of “islands of differences” amongst religious, regional, and community set-ups. “Self is supreme” is the new buzz word of the emerging socio-politico stratagem.

This is why all political parties lure voters with freebies. This was also evident in the post-swearing-in press conference of the new CM Charanjit Channi. He has assured free electricity and water to farmers. What’s more, all those who had their power supply disconnected for non-payment of bills, have been promised re-connections.

Free electricity and water to farmers, free laptops to students, free gas cylinders, subsidised toilets and farm loan waivers are the new means of buying votes. Is it not corruption? It is the trend with all state and central governments. In fact, there is a cut-throat competition among political parties to outdo each other in this “game”. This is how governments splurge taxpayers’ money in the name of helping “Dalits”, STs and OBCs.

The Congress Party has hurt the ego of the Jat-Sikh community, who may be quiet for now but their anger would soon burst out. Things could get worse if the Congress wins the elections and Sidhu tries to replace Channi as Chief Minister

Look at the irony: On the one hand our Constitution talks about creating a classless and casteless society; on the other, our leaders who swear by the same Constitution talk about “Dalits”, SCs and OBCs. If you keep alive such distinctions, how will you make a casteless society?

There is a clear dichotomy in what we say and what we do. Non-bailable warrants are issued if you address a Dalit by his real caste, but political parties are free invoke caste and keep it alive by constantly pushing for caste-based “reservations”.

One is surprised at the claims of Congressmen calling Charanjit Channi a “Dalit”. It is seen as a great qualification – his administrative qualities are not given any weightage. In fact, as technical and higher education minister under Captain Amarinder Singh, he is alleged to have been accused of deciding about a lecturer’s post by tossing a coin. If this is his method of decision-making, then God save the Congress party and also Punjab.

The confusion created before his selection has upset many aspirants. The Jat-Sikh community might not be happy. The Congress High Command has selected him purely with an eye on the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab. It is claimed that Dalits make up 32-33% of Punjab’s population. But it is doubtful if the “Dalits” would buy this bait, if they do not see any individual and personal benefits.

The Congress Party has hurt the ego of the Jat-Sikh community, who may be quiet for now but their anger would soon burst out. Things could get worse if the Congress wins the elections and Sidhu tries to replace Channi as chief Minister. It is being said that the Congress and Sidhu have scored a self-goal by propping up Charanjit Channi as a “Night Watchman Chief Minister”. It would be difficult to bowl him out.

And lastly, let it be said that the majority of the poor population in India does not vote for the love of any ideology, but purely for monetary gains. No wonder, India is known as the land of hypocrites. Our history testifies it. We are only well disciplined when we are slaves and ruled by foreigners.

-An ex-NDA and Wellington Staff College graduate, Col Rajinder Singh is a renowned author and security analyst. He has authored four books, two individually and two in collaboration. His best-selling books are Kashmir – A Different Perspective and The ULFA Insurgency. The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda.