In order to win the upcoming state assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party has been working for long to create a base for itself in Punjab. Kejriwal had begun wooing Sikhs right from December 2015. A news report from that time claimed that Kejriwal had even supported a move to ban jokes on Sikhs.
A petition on change.org seeking a ban ‘Sikh jokes’ was started by a person named RPS Kohli. A hard copy of the same was circulated in Gurudwaras and apparently Kejriwal even signed on one such copy, and said that people ‘should not be making jokes on religious and caste lines’. Among other things, the petition states:
While we are a fun loving community, and love our culture, the Bhangra, the language, we DO NOT like when “12 Baje Jokes” or “Santa Banta Jokes” are cracked at our expense. It is not about Sikhs not being able to take a joke, it’s about hurting our religious sentiments.
The petition raised specific objection to the “12 Baj Gaye” wisecrack which is often used to mock and rile up Sikhs, and Kejriwal by signing the petition, has endorsed the view that such a line is derogatory.
While on one hand Kejriwal has taken this stand, it appears his deputy Kumar Vishwas wasn’t taken into confidence before signing such a declaration. Vishwas is well known for his cheap “comedy”, an example of which was when he made comments on skin colour of nurses from Kerala.
Now, with less than a month to go for Punjab elections, a video has emerged wherein Vishwas is seen cracking the exact same “joke” which the petition endorsed by Kejriwal objected to:
— I’M Furious! (@TheAngryLord) January 7, 2017
In the video, Vishwas uses the “12 Baj Gaye” line to mock Sikhs.
Reacting to the above video, President of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga announced that he was going to file a police complaint against Kumar Vishwas for his “joke”:
Filing police complaint on monday https://t.co/T6Cu98Gx5m
— Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) January 7, 2017
This could come as a setback to AAP, which had on Friday announced that Kumar Vishwas would be one of Aam Aadmi Party’s “star campaigners” in Punjab.
It will be interesting to see what would be Kejriwal’s reaction to this issue since he himself had signed the petition to ban jokes on Sikhs, especially the “12 baj gaye” joke. Further, with the upcoming Punjab assembly elections, Kejriwal may be forced to isolate loose-cannon Vishwas. It is also worth noting that to please hardliners among Sikhs in Punjab, Vishwas was forced to apologise for his comments on Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale earlier.
We may also get to see a repeat of the time when Vishal Dadlani, mocked esteemed Digambar Jain guru Tarun Sagar and after social media outrage, ended up quitting politics. So will Vishwas go the Dadlani way?
UPDATE (10 January 2017): Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga informed on Twitter that he had filed a police complaint as he had announced:
Filed complaint against AAP Leader Kumar Vishwas for insulting Sikhs. Copy of complaint pic.twitter.com/Y1UJsxJpz3
— Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) January 10, 2017