SRINAGAR: Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came out of one of his meetings with protesting farmers as the audience sought his stand on Article 370 that was read down by BJP in August 2019. Accompanied by his party leader from Punjab, the ‘face off’ was reported in a meeting in Khaila Malikpur village of Mansa district, The Wire reported.

An Uneasy Calm: A shot from the main gate of the official residence of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. His party alleged that their Chief Minister was kept under house arrest for supporting the farmer agitation. The photograph is of December 8, 2020

As the “political questions” were repeatedly asked, Kejriwal left the meeting “in a huff”. Though the new age politician left the meeting, the video of the interaction has gone viral.

“In the video, Gurjant Singh Mansa, the district vice-president of the Punjab Kisan Union, is seen asking Kejriwal whether he thinks that the reading down of Article 370 is right or wrong,” the portal reported from Jullunder. To this Kejriwal asked back: “How come this is a farmer’s issue?” The farmer leader responded: “It is an issue of the rights of farmers and the state. Those who make such rules for us are the same people who made these three farm laws.”

Though Kejriwal tried to respond offer his pro-farmer stand, the audience continued asking questions around Article 370. This eventually led him to leave the meeting.

Part of the follow-up splashed the social media later. A senior Congress MP from Punjab, Jasbir Singh Dimpa took a dig at Kejriwal for “running away” from the farmers’ meeting, alleging that AAP was the “B-team of BJP.”

“Whether it was the reading down of Article 370 in J&K or the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, Kejriwal was the first one to support BJP on these laws,” Dimpa was quoted saying. “He has been toeing the line of the BJP and contests elections only to help the saffron party. If BJP has not supported farmers, how can AAP support them? Farmers are aware of their rights and instead of running away, Kejriwal should have answered their queries.”

“We had prepared a list of eight to ten questions to be asked to all politicians. As Kejriwal came, we wanted to know his stand on article 370, which was scrapped in J&K. We wanted to know whether he was in favour of Article 370 or against it,” Gurjant Mansa was quoted saying in The Wire report. “When I first asked him this question, he said that he never supported Article 370 but when we told him that we have his videos expressing support to the central government, and asked the query again, he stood up and ran away.”

Mansa added that a party whose leader “supported the reading down of Article 370 cannot be the votary of more rights to states and farmers”.


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