It was the run-up to voting in historic 2014 elections, when I went for an interview with then BJP president Amit Shah to Amritsar, from where his very close friend Arun Jaitley was locked in an electoral contest with then Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh. As the aircraft banked towards Raja Sansi airport and the Golden Temple appeared on the ground, he told me that he would first like to pay obeisance at Harmandir Sahib before going to meet Jaitley for an election meeting cum lunch. Before reaching the Temple, Shah told me that he had done “Kar Sewa” as a teenager for two weeks after the complex was damaged post-1984 Operation Blue Star. Shah said: “Had it not been for them, we would not be here today.” At the Harmandir Sahib, Shah remained prostrated on ground for a while as he paid obeisance to the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. He did the parikrama and then left to meet Arun Jaitley for a Kadi Chawal lunch. The Amritsar election turned out to be an interesting with Jaitley’s protégé then sitting BJP MP from the Holy City Navjot Singh Sidhu staying out of campaign and his wife and sitting MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu sulking through out the campaign. The internal sabotage ensured that Captain won the election with a handsome margin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the same views towards the Sikh community and misses no opportunity to pay his absolute reverence to the Gurus, be it in Punjab or Bihar. He also believes that Sikh community is the key to India’s integrity and prosperity. It is for this very reason that he rolled back the three farm laws on Guru Purab and ask for apology from the farmers for not being able to explain the laws and their benefit to them.
Under the mask of farmers, the pro-Khalistan separatists are playing a diabolical game against India while sitting in plush environments of US, UK, Germany, and Canada. While one also understands that the game of these western countries is to keep India on its toes and tenterhooks, the larger plot is to discredit the PM and the BJP before the eyes of the Sikh and Punjabi community in India. This also serves to the electoral interest of all the political adversaries of the BJP in Punjab.
Despite the extreme provocation of exposing PM Modi to a possible extremist threat from Sikh groups, very active across the border with support of Pakistani deep state, at Ferozepur, the BJP and the government will not fall into the trap of making it a communal issue. The top leadership of the RSS also understands the play very well and it is for this very reason that the BJP did not part with the Akali Dal in the previous Assembly elections in spite of open anti-incumbency against the Prakash Singh Badal regime. The Modi government and the national security planners understand the sensitivities of a border state like Punjab and also know the actors in play to create tension in the state.
While it will rein in any comment from either the government or the party that can be misconstrued, India will make an all-out diplomatic effort to bring full force of justice to banned SFJ leaders like G S Pannu in US and Multani in Germany. The security agencies on the other hand have already begun to weed out the enemy within Punjab so that arms, ammunition, and Afghan heroin do not find their way from across Pakistan to fund and promote militancy in the state. With Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan facing a battle for his political survival, it is quite evident that the pressure will be deflected towards India in the coming days.
Although there is absolute need to bring those who are fanning so-called Khalistan flames to book, the security agencies should also do a security review of PM Modi’s protection as 20 minutes of exposure (on Ferozepur flyover on January 5) for the most targeted man in India, thanks to inept enforcement agencies, is criminal.
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