Punjabi diaspora is busy campaigning for political parties across the state
Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service
Moga/Jagraon, 23 January 2017. The rough and tumble of Punjab politics has attracted the Punjabi diaspora to the state. This is the time of elections, and NRIs want to contribute their bit to ensure their party wins.
More than 500 NRIs from Canada, New Zealand and Australia reached Delhi on the intervening night of January 18 and 19 and proceeded towards Punjab. A group of 400 NRIs from Chicago have arrived in the state to support the Congress. And hundreds of NRI supporters of the SAD are in the field.
The maximum number of NRIs has come from Canada and nearly 75 per cent of them are supporting AAP. The failure of the traditional parties to effect a change explains the support to AAP from abroad.
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal is expected to hold an interaction with them in Majitha tomorrow.
Punjabi NRIs from other countries such as Norway, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden are trickling in small groups of 20 to 25.
“We have been mute spectators to the pitiful performance of all political parties for so long. Now, it is the turn of people to experiment with something new. All our matters are related to corruption,” says an emotionally charged Harry Dhaliwal, a former federal citizenship judge based in Toronto. He is a native of Sherpur Kalan village near Jagraon.
NRIs have spread out, campaigning in Ferozepur, Bathinda, Moga, Jagraon, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Balachaur and Jalandhar.
Tarlochan Sohal from San Francisco spent two months in Punjab, campaigning for AAP. He returned recently. “A group of seven tech-savvy youngsters from San Francisco have already reached Punjab to pitch for AAP candidates. Punjabis in the US are enthused about the Assembly elections,” he says.
Dhaliwal outlines AAP’s strategy. “The party has deployed at least 20 to 25 NRIs in each of the 117 Assembly constituencies. They are persuading their friends and relatives to vote for party,” he says.
Wooing is not limited to relatives alone. NRIs are campaigning in villages as well. At Kot Karar village near Talwandi Bhai township, Harpreet Khosa, a transporter from Brampton, addresses a gathering. “We want you to enjoy a dignified life as we do abroad. Everybody here is ready to work hard like us, but where are the right opportunities here?” he says.
Manjinder Singh of the UK and Surinder Singh Nambardar of the US have been camping in their native Chakkar village Jagraon, creating awareness among people about the importance of their vote. For Satnam Singh Chahal, Executive Director, North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), ‘grim’ law and order situation in the state is a cause for concern.