Press Release Khadoor Sahib Vidhan Sabha By-Election 2016

Dear Residents of Khadoor Sahib and all Punjab Sympathisers,

Ever since Sri Ramanjit Singh Sikki has resigned from his membership of the Punjab Assembly and the Khadoor Sahib Vidhan Sabbha seat fell vacant, hundreds of voters of Khadoor Sahib, volunteers who were part of my campaign team when I fought the 2014 Lok Sanbha elections from Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, as well as Punjab watchers have continually asked me to stand for the Khadoor Sahib Assembly Seat by-elections.

I could have gone ahead and announced my willingness to fight the upcoming elections but I did not. As a sociopolitical and cultural activist and as a revivalist I am a firm believer in a collective fight to eradicate corruption from the waters, soil and overall environment of Punjab and to bring in the crucial judicial, police and political reforms. Also as a proponent of participatory democracy, transparency and accountability, it was important for me to consult with various organisations – political, social, cultural and religious, as well as with various activists, pro-people progressive organisations, Sant Samaj community elders, Panthic organisations, volunteers and former colleagues, whose opinion and invaluable advice I regard very highly.

After nearly two weeks of intense consultations and debating every possible aspect in regards to the upcoming by-elections, I am humbled to announce that whenever the by-elections are announced, I will be more than glad to take up the challenge albeit as an Azad Ummedwaar (Independent Candidate).

I feel it is time that the paradigm of politics in Punjab is changed forever. The political parties, namely the Congress and the Akali Dal, have taken turns to damage Punjab and the result is in front of us. The lack of vision and cohesion cost Punjab and Punjabis the most at the time of partition in 1947 done in the name of religion; the subsequent partition of Punjab done in the name of languages cost us even more —not to count the loss of natural resources and infrastructure; as if that was not enough, the petty political discourse that humiliated all Punjabis whether we were Dalits, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and others was to follow leading to the unfortunate decades of 70s, 80s and 90s. How can we forget the Operations Blue Star and the carnage of the Sikhs in 1984? The extrajudicial killing of human rights activists and innocent Sikh youth men and women, the loss of life incurred by the security forces and civilians —both Hindu and Sikh are all a blot on Punjab’s miscarried political leadership. Punjab’s loss of opportunity in the fields of education, finance, industry, agriculture, health, infrastructure, innovation among others cannot even be quantified. Punjab has hit rock bottom. One thing that stands proven is that the current political leadership and all other political alternatives have been incapable of providing Punjab with the leadership it deserved. It is time that we the Punjabi’s were to stop relying on these discredited and ineffective politicians and their outfits. We have to stop hoping against hope that these people will be able to recover Punjab’s lost dignity and reserves. Punjab is in debt. All of us Punjabi’s are in debt. With your support we can join together to help recover Punjab it’s lost dignity and pride. But we must walk together hand in hand. We will need to pray and hope together, take tough decisions and walk together. And what place better than Khadoor Sahib where the first Gur-Sikh to have embarked upon the walk as taught by Guru Baba Nanak was none other than Guru Angad Dev of Khadoor Sahib. It is time that we began walking in their footsteps.

I take this opportunity to thank every singly well-wisher who has been a part of this intense churning process in which every possible and conceivable aspect in regard to the by-election was debated and mulled over, and for their support and honest feedback. The proactive presence of all organisations I have consulted with, hard work done by their respective volunteers, and their meaningful interventions are very reassuring. There is still hope and Punjab will indeed march ahead.

I am particularly thankful to several respectable members of the Sant Samaj, various non-political Panthic organisations, Sikh Intellectual Associations, the entire Swaraj Abhiyan family, Aam Aadmi Volunteers Front, NRI activist colleagues and last but not the least, my colleagues and supporters from the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.

Best wishes,

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