Channi’s volte face on ‘bhaiyya’ remark

| | Chandigarh
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Channi’s volte face on ‘bhaiyya’ remark

Thursday, 17 February 2022 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

As his “bhaiyya” remarks raised a storm of controversy not only in Punjab but also another poll bound state of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday did a volte face.

Coming on back foot, Channi claimed that his remarks were meant only for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAp), and has been “misinterpreted”.

“What I said was only for the Aam Aadmi Party. The migrants are associated with us since birth. This country is a bouquet, and anyone can come and go anywhere. My statement is being misrepresented,” said Channi after he stroked a major controversy with a comment that he made during a road show in Ropar on Tuesday while campaigning with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by his side. “Don’t let bhaiyas from UP, Bihar, Delhi enter Punjab,” he had said.

The controversy broke out after BJP’s Tejasvi Surya, shared a video on Twitter in which Channi can be heard saying in Punjabi, “Priyanka Gandhi is the daughter-in-law of Punjab. She is a Punjabi. These bhaiyyas (brothers) from UP, Bihar and Delhi… don’t let them enter here.” As the crowd cheered loudly over the statement, Priyanka Gandhi was also seen laughing and clapping in agreement.

The comment has triggered sharp criticism from rivals — the AAP and the BJP, that too just days before the state votes on Sunday.

The Delhi reference was apparently a swipe at Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP has been trying to expand its national footprint. “It is very shameful. We strongly condemn comments aimed at any individual or any particular community. Priyanka Gandhi also belongs to UP so she is also a ‘bhaiyya’,” said Kejriwal, responding to the remarks.

Also hitting out at Channi and Priyanka Gandhi, BJP leaders stated that the Chief Minister has insulted people from UP and Bihar, where the Congress is fighting the polls.

The party’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya said that the Congress wants to divide the people of the country. “When the CM of Punjab insults people of UP, Bihar, Priyanka Vadra stands by him, smiles and applauds. This is how Congress will develop UP and the country? It is making people fight among themselves,” he tweeted in Hindi along with the video of Channi’s speech.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari also took to Twitter to slam Channi and Priyanka Gandhi asking how the UP incharge would now campaign in the state and ask for votes.

Priyanka Gandhi is the general secretary in charge of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Her mother Sonia Gandhi is a Lok Sabha MP from UP’s Rae Bareli. Her brother Rahul Gandhi represented the Amethi seat in Lok Sabha until his defeat in 2019. Her father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi were also Lok Sabha MPs from Uttar Pradesh.

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