Politics of Opportunity and beyond

The news of MS Sirsa joining BJP reached to me yesterday when I was driving. The whatsapp groups and twitter posts started blowing immediately with criticism of Sirsa’s decision. There have been many takes on this already but I have not found a nuanced one on topic yet, most of the takes come from an emotional perspective notably from Sikhs who more or less feel disappointed. Some people I talked to also expressed that decision is not unexpected and that everybody knew of Sirsa’s connections with BJP.

I am clear on one aspect of Sirsa’s politics that he is a smart and clever politician. Manjinder Singh Sirsa was bestowed with love by Sangat of Delhi making him the president. He might have lost the elections this time around but his stint as president saw many important developments. His contributions towards Farmers Protests due to his position in DSGMC are worth mentioning. It is however important to note here that Sirsa without that position bestowed on him would not have been able to help SKM in legal battles. Sirsa has always been in proximity of people in Power & was clearly against politics of Congress. His strong criticism against Congress and his quick responses to acts against Sikhs in Pakistan and Afghanistan earned him the position among Sikhs that no other Sikh in BJP could command.

BJP has of course tried to connect with Sikh community using likes of Hardeep Singh Puri and RP singh but these Sikhs have not earned traction amongst Sikhs. An important aspect of Sirsa’s new innings is Shiromani Akali Dal relations with BJP.

Akali Dal has maintained in its statement that Manjinder singh Sirsa was intimidated because of the cases against him. Sukhbir Badal has also gone on record to use ‘threats’ as an excuse for the loss of top leader in Delhi. The bigger picture that has been emerging from months has been BJP’s efforts to put healing touch to Sikhs in Punjab. BJP has been in long alliance with Akali Dal in Punjab. The new leadership of BJP feels that Akalis have used the Hinduness of BJP in Punjab to garner BJP votes but has done nothing to improve the credibility or image of BJP. This was more evident with sudden divorce of Akalis with BJP and no reactions on the gherao of BJP people in Punjab.

Sirsa enjoys a relatively better position among Sikhs in Punjab due to his stint with DSGMC. BJP in its bid to touch the alienated section of Sikhs in Punjab has even gone to the extent of including former AIsSF member Harinder Kahlon.

In addition to the gold trophy that he will be for BJP, Manjinder singh Sirsa is hardworking politician who understands camera and social media. BJP has lost its remaining credibility among Punjabis during farmers protest and hence these are tough times for Manjinder singh Sirsa.

The criticism of Sirsa’s decision is coming from all sections of Sikhs, some even comparing him to Longowal. Notably Longowal after his accord with Rajiv was criticised by one and all in the community including the Akali Dal. The main criticism against Sirsa is coming from farmers who feel that his intent was always questionable.

SGPC’s new president Harjinder Singh Dhami as well as Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh both have criticised Sirsa’s decision of joining BJP. Jathedar elaborated that Sirsa just picked between jail term and BJP. He lamented that conscience of people is always tested and that someone who was given love by Delhi Sangat should have passed the test.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa immediately after joining maintained that he wanted to serve community. Of course his statement was to cool off the angry community that by and large feels anger against the party BJP. Sirsa mentioned a list of Sikh issues that he intends to solve including the safety and security of Sikhs in JK, Solving issues of Sikhs of Shillong who are evicted, Getting back Gurdwara Dang Maar among many others. Many Sikh political thinkers believe that it will be hard for Sirsa to steer clear off the bigger conglomerate RSS and its efforts to assimilate Sikhs into Hindus. Sirsa for one will never be able to appeal to wider Sikh community because of his little or no sympathy for Sikh struggle and hence might lose relevance in due course of time.

One thought on “Politics of Opportunity and beyond

  1. Sirsa’s love for Sikhs you mentioned should not be construed as real love for Sikhs but a political jugglery and dancing on tunes of RAW would fetch him two benefits goodwill of Sikhs in absence of credible leadership and pleasing masters

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