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Anti-incumbency against natives could help AAP live down Sisodia's misfire in P...

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12.01.2017

‘Eik tei monaa, duja baarla.’ In the Queen’s language that translates to mean an ‘outsider with cropped hair.’

A sure disqualification that in the scramble for the traditional Sikh vote in Punjab! Illustration: the religious-parochial slogan was used by word of mouth against finance minister Arun Jaitley in the 2014 election he lost from Amritsar.

Jaitley was a Punjabi who battled Amarinder Singh, a former chief minister who’s also a former Sikh maharaja. If the label stuck to him, the connotation could be graver for Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party.

In that milieu, Manish Sisodia’s call for a vote on the assumption that Kejriwal would be CM was eminently avoidable. The statement, to be fair to him, was carefully crafted. His emphasis was on the de facto, not the de jure guarantee for delivering on the party’s promises to the electorate.

But there’s little use for nuances in poll time rhetoric that’s a game of distortions. Regardless of the Delhi CM clarifying that he desired no office in Punjab, the Congress and the Akalis see in his deputy’s comments a vindication of their portrayal of Kejriwal: a Haryanvi out to grab power in the state in cahoots with other non-Punjabis.

Read | ‘Vote assuming Kejriwal will be Punjab CM’: Sisodia sets off storm, AAP clarifies

In an increasingly triangular contest, the old-guard parties will brook no hurdle to show Kejriwal as a ‘closet CM candidate’ who’d be an ‘unreliable broker’ in Punjab’s water dispute with Haryana. In fact, the outgoing deputy CM, Sukhbir Badal’s first riposte to his Delhi counterpart set the stage for a fresh slugfest on the SYL issue.

Leave aside the Akalis, Sisodia’s comment bolsters the charge of AAP renegades such as Sucha Singh Chotepur that the party’s Punjab arm was remote-controlled from Delhi. The........

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