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Arvind Kejriwal urged NRI Punjabis with a slogan ‘Chalo Punjab’ asking them to come down to Punjab to help with election campaigning.
Mosiqi Acharya

16 Jan 2017 - 4:00 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2017 - 3:10 PM

Voters in the Indian state of Punjab go to polls next month in State Assembly elections that have shaped into a three-way battle between the Congress Party, the BJP-SAD coalition and the Aam Aadmi Party for its 117 seats.

In 2014, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) surprised many by winning four parliamentary seats in Punjab.

This year,  Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Head, Arvind Kejriwal is pulling out all the stops in his party’s bid to win more seats by raising funds from Non-Resident Indian Punjabis and urging them to ‘come home’ to help with election campaigning with a slogan, ‘Chalo Punjab’.

The AAP now claims that some 2,500 people have ‘answered the call’ and arrived from abroad to support the party in Punjab.

Non-Resident Indians like Rajveer Singh Mann and Harry Daliwal, both from Canada say that they traded their annual holidays to come to Punjab to campaign for Kejriwal.

Mr Mann has been going door to door in his hometown Ludhiana to build support for AAP in Punjab.

"We see the fruits of good governance abroad and fail to believe that we can't have the same here in India," said Mr Mann to NDTV.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhaliwal is helping with the public meetings being held by AAP in Ludhiana.

"37 years ago, I had to leave my country because the values I learned here and applied... the system never gave me returns... but when I applied the same values in Canada, from a farm labourer I ended up being a judge," he told NDTV.

The Aam Aadmi Party claims that in addition to some 2500 NRIs already campaigning for them in the Punjab another 90 NRIs from Canada will arrive on 19th January.

"I want to be a part of real change," Surinder Mavi, a 31-year-old who is helping organise the Canadian AAP "election volunteers", said to local newspaper,  Toronto Star.

For the election, Mr Mavi will ride an AAP campaign bus that will rally support in 16 of Punjab's largest constituencies.

Canadian president of the Overseas Friends of BJP, Azad Kaushik told Toronto Star, there’s “an anti-incumbency factor” prevalent in Punjab.

But later in a phone interview from Dehli, he insisted that BJP will retain power in Punjab due to it’s economic record and its development of infrastructure.

He also accused the Aam Aadmi Party of having “failed miserably” as Delhi’s government and said that his group does not plan to send volunteers to India to help the BJP in the Punjab election as they are not a political party.

Meanwhile, Congress has said that its own batch of NRIs will be campaigning for the party in Punjab elections.

Amanpreet Aulakh of the Indian Overseas Congress (Canada) is among those who have already reached India, the party said.

Aulakh said: “NRIs from Canada will help to take the party’s agenda forward on the ground across the state.”

Deccan Herald reported that in a letter to All India Congress Committee (AICC) Foreign Affairs Cell chairman Dr Karan Singh, the Indian Overseas Congress (UK) president Daljit Singh Sahota said the NRIs would be travelling to India to participate in the elections in Punjab and to campaign vigorously for Congress candidates.


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