Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari on Friday, 18 February, likened the controversial 'UP, Bihar de bhaiye' comment made by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to racial tensions in the United States.
Narrating a personal anecdote, he explained that despite hailing from a family of Jat, Sikh, and Punjabi assimilation, and his father "laying down his life for Hindu-Sikh amity," he was still disparaged because of his surname.
The Lok Sabha member on Twitter said, "De-Horse Politics- The Bhaiya controversy is like the Black issue in the US. It is reflective of an unfortunate systemic and institutionalised social bias against migrants stretching back to the inception of the Green Revolution."
"Such thinking should have no place in the Secular ethos of Punjab grounded in the idiom - Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Ek Pechan."Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari
What Was the Controversy?
With the Punjab elections around the corner, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, on 16 February, sparked a controversy after he said during a roadshow that "Bhaiyas from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi cannot come here and rule."
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was next to Channi when he made the comment. Channi had added:
"Priyanka Gandhi is Punjab's daughter-in-law, she is the bahu of Punjabis. Bhaiyas from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi cannot come here and rule. We will not allow UP bhaiyas to enter into Punjab."
The comments were seemingly directed at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been extensively campaigning in Punjab for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), looking to extend its political foothold.
After the comment, Kejriwal responded by saying, "It is very shameful. We strongly condemn comments aimed at any individual or any particular community."
Meanwhile, AAP's chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann pointed out that "Priyanka Gandhi is from UP." To this, Kejriwal added, "Then she too is a bhaiya."
Punjab CM Forced to Issue Clarification
A day after his 'UP-Bihar de bhaiye' comment and subsequent outlash, the Punjab CM issued a clarification, stating, "My statement is being misconstrued. All the migrant workers who have come to Punjab till date have toiled and taken it on the path to development. We have only love for them, nobody can change it."
"I was talking about people who come from outside (Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh, and Arvind Kejriwal) and create disruptions here. Punjab is as much of the people of UP-Bihar, Rajasthan, and elsewhere, who come here and work, as it is ours."Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi
Punjab goes to the polls on 20 February. The results will be declared on 10 March.
(With inputs from ANI.)