Chandigarh: Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal said on Friday that it was "shocked" by disclosures made by ousted AAP Punjab unit chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur regarding "anti-Sikh" remarks made by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Describing Kejriwal's remarks, made to Chhotepur, as "shocking in the extreme", the Akali Dal termed these as "anti-Sikh, most disparaging and humiliating remarks".
Chhotepur had, earlier in the day, made public a conversation between him and Kejriwal, in which the Delhi Chief Minister allegedly "ridiculed the pain of being excommunicated from the (Sikh) Panth (religion)".
"According to Chhotepur, in this conversation, when he explained his inability to defend the imprint of 'Jhaadoo' (broom, the AAP election symbol) on an image of Sri Harmandar Sahib as this would have led to his being summoned by Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and the possibility of being excommunicated from the Panth if he defended the picture, Mr Kejriwal remarked, 'Aap ko panth se nikaal dete to kya ho jata." (So what if they had thrown you out of Panth!) At this, according to Mr Chhotepur, he expressed his inability to defend the party on the issue and this was the beginning of his alienation from Kejriwal," an Akali Dal spokesman said here on Friday.
The AAP found itself embroiled in a religious controversy after the publication of the photograph of the holiest of Sikh shrines with a broom led to an uproar in Punjab. Kejriwal and other AAP leaders had to apologize for the incident. The photograph was published on the front cover of the AAP's youth wing manifesto in July.
Akali Dal general secretary Harcharan Bains said that outside leaders from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were trying to lord over AAP leaders from Punjab and the Chhotepur incident had shown how top Punjab leaders could be treated.
"Kejriwal's secret ambition to be Punjab Chief Minister also explains the decision to block entry of Navjot Singh Sidhu into AAP as Kejriwal feared being overshadowed by a Punjab leader. What he is doing to most Punjab AAP leaders is a part of a design to render all of them just parasites dependent on him," Bains added.
"The disclosures of Chhotepur have finally and irrevocably vindicated all allegations levelled by other AAP leaders that Kejriwal was instinctively anti-Sikh and that the party was being run by anti-Punjab and corrupt gangsters from UP led by AAP bigwigs Durgesh Pathak and Sanjay Singh," Bains said.
AAP leaders had to face embarrassment last month when Delhi leader Ashish Khetan compared the AAP youth wing manifesto to the holy book of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib. A case was registered against Khetan even though he apologized for the comments.