New Delhi: This is a piece to be taken as a voice crying in the wilderness. No, my worries are not whether Navjot Singh Sidhu will continue as Punjab Congress chief or not.
One is also not really concerned about the Congress party–about whose leader Rahul Gandhi, 'Time' magazine had commented in 2019–"an unteachable mediocrity and a descendant of Nehru".
One gets the most discouraging, if not depressing, feeling that the country is heading towards Punjab elections with debate on whether one or a few state politicians are pro-Pakistanis.
There is a big dilemma about democracy. Had the man been more intelligent, he would have known how to conduct correctly, and if God had made man or woman less intelligent, he/she would have been more disciplined and thus easier to govern and control. But we have to face life and politicians as they are.
Punjab has seen the very ugly face of terrorism. Of course, most of it was Pakistan-instigated. Islamabad must be waiting in the wings to take revenge for Bangladesh. In Kashmir, all its investment for years was virtually negated on August 5, 2019.
In Punjab, things were controlled, but some of the risk factors are still around. Legendary Nani Palkhivala once wrote–"The most under-developed territory in every continent on earth is situated between human ears".
Here lies the problem. The problem is the politicians have 'more developed' brains, and they can abuse it to suit their agenda.
Even the past problem in Punjab has been attributed to an extent to the tussle between President Zail Singh and former Punjab Chief Minister Darbara Singh.
A new book, "In the Service of Free India' also refers to Indira Gandhi's 'intolerance' of the Akalis.
Capt Amarinder Singh has unhesitatingly called Navjot Singh Sidhu–a pro-Imran Khan. Everyone knows the embrace of General Javed Bajwa.
The interesting part is that, later, an attempt to explain that the 'embrace' was a symbol of mutual admiration and expectations of the Kartarpur Corridor.
Now, the Kartarpur Corridor, too, has a story for Imran Khan. November 9, 2019, was slated for the inauguration. Things were planned accordingly, and Pakistan had presumed to project the day as their 'tolerance' day–for the global media.
But on the D-Day, November 9, 2019, the entire media attention in India, in Asia, in Pakistan and also in the rest of the world was the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench's orders on the Ayodhya dispute.
Pakistan lost it out badly in the 'publicity' blitzkrieg it had thought.
But they have had their eyes in Punjab, and 'reviving' of troubles do suit them or their agenda.
This makes India's elections in Punjab in 2022 critical. It should be free of violence, and even rhetoric should be confined to development and other political tamashas.
One sincerely hopes nothing should be done during elections and even after that could foment some communal troubles in the state.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to say: "Najane kiski Nazar lag gayi hamare Punjab ko (We are sad that someone's evil eyes have focused on our Punjab)".
Here the new plea would be more humble–"buri nazar se bachaiye hamarey Punjab ko (Please save Punjab from any bad omen)".
Captain Amarinder Singh had cautioned in 2019 that India "will have to be careful" while moving ahead on Kartarpur.
Pakistan has played these tricks in the past.
The 'Lahore Bus' drive-by Vajpayee was reciprocated with Kargil and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lahore visit to greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday in 2015 was returned with Pathankot and also Uri about nine months later.