Chandigarh, February 17
Even as CM Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday said that by his remark of not letting "Uttar Pradesh, Bihar de bhaiye" enter the state was aimed only at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the BJP-led NDA alliance has taken up the issue beyond Punjab.
With the third round of polling in UP on February 20, along with that of Punjab, the BJP has made the remarks a big issue against the Congress as UP Congress incharge Priyanka Gandhi was accompanying Channi, when the remark was passed during a roadshow in Ropar on Tuesday.
Channi's remark has attracted a sharp response from rivals AAP and BJP which said it was “shameful” that he and Priyanka were targeting “a particular community" and calling for the “boycott” of “people from UP and Bihar”.
Kejriwal has already said, “It is very shameful. We strongly condemn comments aimed at any individual or a particular community.”
In Punjab, Congress insiders say Channi’s remarks only resonate the ‘Punjabi versus outsiders’ narrative of the party. The controversy could add fresh impetus to the Congress that is facing a stiff challenge from AAP. Party leaders feel that the remarks could invoke Punjabis to stop the march of Kejriwal.
During Tuesday’s roadshow at Ropar, Channi in the presence of Priyanka Gandhi had made the remark, eliciting strong reactions from the opposition.
Channi had said, “Priyanka Gandhi is Punjab's daughter-in-law, she is the bahu of Punjabis. Bhaiyas from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi cannot come here and rule. We will not allow UP bhaiyas to stray into Punjab.”
Facing competition from AAP, the Congress has upped its attack on Kejriwal. The comments were part of the campaign against the Delhi Chief Minister who has been campaigning extensively in Punjab.
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