People are being deceived in the name of Panth: Virsa Singh Valtoha : The Tribune India

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People are being deceived in the name of Panth: Virsa Singh Valtoha

People are being deceived in the name of Panth: Virsa Singh Valtoha

Virsa S Valtoha, SAD nominee, Khadoor Sahib

The Tribune interview: Virsa S Valtoha, SAD nominee, Khadoor Sahib

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) firebrand leader Virsa Singh Valtoha has been leaving no stone unturned to grasp the Punjab’s hottest ‘Panthic’ seat Khadoor Sahib. In conversation with GS Paul, the two-time MLA see jailed head of Waris Punjab De outfit Amritpal Singh as his main competitor in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. Excerpts:

What prompted you to remind the voters about your past?

My opponents come with a so-called ‘Panthic’ agenda, which is actually hollow in nature. People are being deceived in the name of ‘Panth’. That’s why I had to open my life chapters that speak of my struggle for the sake of ‘Panth’ and Punjab rights. I was just 15 when I took to ‘Panthic’ activities, though it was an appalling path. I had spent over a decade behind the bars during the prime of my youth. With me, my family too suffered police torture. I, too, faced National Security Act (NSA) twice during 84-86 and 91-92. My first ‘mulakat’ in jail was allowed only after a year. My younger brother Milkha Singh, too, was booked under the NSA twice when he was just 17.

Whom do you consider your biggest rival in polls?

‘Bhai’ Amritpal Singh, as of now.

You had invited ‘Team Amritpal’ to have an open debate, any response?

I am still waiting. I will withdraw if I prove to be ‘liar’ or ‘weak’ on the core issues that concern the Sikh Panth and Punjab. People should know the factually correct picture to help make their decision. You (Amritpal) openly defy the Constitution of India and term your passport as a travel document only. Then what necessitated contesting the Lok Sabha poll?

Why have you been targeting Amritpal alone?

How could the one, who was born after ’84, all of a sudden emerged from overseas, donned the ‘Sikhi saroop’ around a couple of years ago and claim transformation in his thought process? He was made to jump into the poll fray with an aim to ‘facilitate his release’. Is there any law that permits it to be so? Do they show equal concern about other ‘Bandi Singhs’ who have been languishing in jails despite completion of their sentences? One of ‘Bandi Singhs’ Gurdeep Singh Khera is jailed for over 33 years, lived just a few yards away from Amritpal’s house in Jallupur Khera. Neither Amritpal nor his parents ever bothered to visit him when he was out on parole or his family even once.

Don’t you think that division of ‘Panthic’ votes would give advantage to the opponents, as had happened in 2019 when the SAD had lost the seat?

I never wanted the same situation to emerge again. That’s why I had approached Amritpal’s parents to reconsider and sought support, but in vain.

What is your poll agenda?

The most prominent issue of Sikh Panth and Punjab is the release of ‘Bandi Singhs’. Some are behind the bars for over three decades. It was a sheer violation of human rights. When the PM can intervene in facilitating the release of Qatar detainees, then why not ‘Bandi Singhs’? Secondly, the deteriorating Punjab’s economy is the cause for concern. The border belt residents, who were already deprived of opportunities, desperately need revival of the bilateral trade through the Attari-Wagah land route. Under what logic, the trade was being allowed through Gujarat port, but not from Attari-Wagah? We have to fight it out. In addition, the Centre-sponsored schemes seldom reach the actual beneficiaries, which also need to be streamlined.

#Khadoor Sahib #Shiromani Akali Dal

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