Rahul Gandhi in his speech warned that someone from Sultanpur will run Punjab. Who is this man from Sultanpur who is giving sleepless nights to Congress top brass in Punjab? They circulated a totally false letter allegedly written by him to Arvind Kejriwal conceding defeat in Punjab.
It didn’t work because he shared his passport signature, exposing the forgery. Then they floated a story that he has suddenly acquired 3 bungalows, but he again flounced them – said whoever can locate a bungalow belonging to him, he would gift it to the same person. All kinds of efforts are being made to bring AAP Punjab in-charge, Sanjay Singh, down. But all have been futile.
Sanjay Singh is the architect of Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab. Along with Durgesh Pathak, he has been working day and night in Punjab since two years. After the 2015 Delhi victory the party set its sights on Punjab because this was the state that gave us 4 Lok Sabha seats. Sanjay Singh began setting up the organisation and uniting all the people against the ruling SAD-BJP combine.
He openly named Vikram Majithia as the state’s biggest criminal and drug smuggler. Majithia slapped defamation charges, threatened he would not let Sanjay Singh set foot in Punjab, but Sanjay continued attacking the Badal family and their cohorts for ravaging Punjab.
Arvind Kejriwal increased the decibel in calling out the various scams and criminal activities of the ruling party. AAP strongly attacked the obvious and blatant drug business of Vikram Majithia and how it used the entire government machinery. AAP’s brave, raw honesty set a new benchmark in Punjab and people started shedding their fear of SAD and began joining AAP in droves. Punjab AAP leaders started campaigning village to village over a year ago.
Then AAP began distributing tickets, and all disgruntled aspirants needed someone to blame and attacks began on Sanjay – the party is controlled by Delhi High Command, UPwalas are running Punjab. Media gleefully carried these stories but it cut no ice on the ground. AAP’s support and strength grew, by leaps and bounds every day.
Cut to the present day, the last few days of campaigning. AAP is poised to sweep Punjab. But no one in the party is sitting pretty. Each and every one is involved in frenzied campaigning.
And Sanjay Singh’s frenetic work has to be experienced to be believed. One typical day – we left Sirhind at 8 am and then traversed to Balachaur, then Chamkaur Sahib, Patiala, Ludhiana, Phagwara, Mohali, and Chandigarh. We had public meetings, joinings of new entrants into the party, nomination filings and volunteer meets.
After traversing these 500 km the last meeting ended in Chandigarh at midnight but Sanjay decided to leave for Ludhiana for an early morning meet with Arvind Kejriwal. I was so exhausted that I copped out and opted to stay back in Chandigarh. On many days we don’t get chance to grab a meal throughout the day. Despite all this Sanjay’s energy or optimism never fades.
He can take a small break, sing patriotic songs and is ready to roll again. On 24th when a plane load of NRIs were to be greeted at Amritsar Airport at 7am, Sanjay Singh set the mood on fire with his songs and cheerfulness – this despite having reached Amritsar at 4am and having had barely 2 hours of sleep.
For Sanjay it isn’t just kilometers and hours, its also intensive campaigning, and constant strategizing, operationalizing, and trouble shooting over the phone. Always with him are his Amar, Akbar, Anthony – Aman, Ajit and Aniket who drive, coordinate meetings, report all issues from across the state. Besides that a number of volunteers and senior party leaders travel with his mobile office for varied stretches. Many meetings are held in highway stops where leaders crisscross each other during their campaigns.
The best part of his campaign are his roaring speeches – especially the part where he tears down dynastic politics, people don’t just tire of it and ask for encores. He is a man who never tires, never gives up and is the most accommodating of different people. He stands up for volunteers and is very generous in sharing credit. He is the heaviest anchor of AAP and I don’t mean literally J. Within the party there is lot of cheerful leg pulling and humorous phone calls between leaders and Sanjay gets energized with this lighthearted fun. His eternal optimism and ability to bear adversity makes him impervious to opposition attacks.
The words that embody him are in his favourite song..
“Ruke na jo, jhuke no jo, dabe na jo, mite na jo
Hum wo inquiab hein, zulm ka jawab hain
Har gareeb har shaheed ka humi to khwab hein”
(One who never stops, never bends,
never gets pushed down, cannot be wiped out,
We are that revolution, the reply to oppression
We are the dream of the poor and the martyred.)
Sanjay hopes one day all parties will campaign like this – on the ground, connecting people. That’s the only way they will know what people really want and will be forced to be accountable to all the people they have made commitments to.
While traditional politicians are cut off from the ground in their high-flying helicopters, this man from Sultanpur is changing India.
(Preeti Sharma Menon is Aam Aadmi Party’s national executive member and national spokesperson. Views expressed in this blog are author’s own and Janta Ka Reporter doesn’t endorse them)