The Times of India – Post-Parkash Utsav, Bihar CM goes ‘viral’ in Punjab

I P Singh

Jalandhar, 10 January 2017. Most Punjabis know Bihar for two reasons – it is the birthplace of the 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh and it is the state that gives the maximum migrant labour to work in the fields during harvest season.

In the past few days, however, one man from Bihar who has very little to do with Punjab, has become a hit with Punjabis, including the diaspora, chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Ever since he successfully organised the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna, he has become a social media sensation in the northern state. People have been showering praise on him at a time when spontaneous praise for politicians is a rarity.

It is therefore not surprising that Janata Dal United is considering contesting the assembly elections in Punjab for the first time. Nitish had himself come to Anandpur Sahib on November 27, just ahead of the Patna celebrations, and later launched the state unit at Mohali.

Punjab unit president Malwinder Singh Benipal said the party would contest the elections but refused to give details. “We were clearly told to keep politics away from Parkashotsav celebrations and that was the reason our party unit never tried to take credit for anything,” he said.

No one expects JDU to send shockwaves in Punjab during the elections on February 4, but no one denies Nitish’s popularity among Punjabis either.

Canada-based commentator Gurpreet Singh Sahota on January 5 posted on his Facebook wall, “You have won hearts of the Sangat which is thankful to you.”

The simple post went viral and was shared by 5,500 people besides getting 15,000 likes and 2,752 comments. Sahota, whose comments and reports on Sikhs and Punjab affairs are quite popular on social media, said this was his highest shared post on any Sikh issue.

Akali Dal stalwart the late Master Tara Singh’s granddaughter and former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) general secretary Kiranjot Kaur attended the celebrations at Patna. In her Facebook post on January 7, she noted, “When CM Nitish Kumar came to Takht Sahib at midnight on Gurpurb the crowd automatically started making way for him.

He did not need security to push open a way for him. He has earned Sikh Panth’s respect.” The post was shared more than 200 times.

“Governments are generally criticised for organising big events because they can never meet the expectations of a large number of people. But people, who had gone to Patna Sahib praised the arrangements and the CM. They are talking about it after returning as well.

This praise is spontaneous as he delivered without making a noise,” said environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal who also participated in the celebrations and stayed in Patna for 12 days.

“While we were travelling on a bus at Patna Sahib a devotee showered praises on Nitish. When somebody tried to remind him about the free power given by Punjab government, others reacted very strongly and an altercation took place,” said Sant Daya Singh of Gurudwara Tahli Sahib who also was in Patna for 10 days.


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