Chandigarh, Jan 10: The Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party was trying to foist "outsider" Arvind Kejriwal on Punjab after scuttling the chances of its own leaders from the state who could have posed a challenge to him.
SAD president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that if a 'Haryanvi' comes to power in the state, the interests of Punjab would be compromised and asserted that voters will not be befooled by AAP.
He also warned that the "anti-Centre" stance of Kejriwal will put the state on a collision course with the Union Government and hurt its progress.
"The cat is out of the bag. Kejriwal has been salivating to become chief minister of Punjab since two years now and finally the party has made the announcement after clearing all the road blocks in his way," Badal said in a statement.
Asking people of Punjab to oppose the move to impose an "outsider" on them, the Deputy CM said, "We are Punjabis foremost and Akalis, Congressmen or BJP supporters later. If an outsider becomes CM of our state, our very existence is at stake".
His reaction came after Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while addressing a rally in Mohali, asked people to vote for AAP in Pujab Assembly polls to see Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister of the state. Sukhbir said the recent developments in the party should be seen in this light.
"AAP's first state convenor and senior most leader Suchha Singh Chottepur was thrown out of the party as he was a well know Sikh face and could have posed a challenge to Kejriwal. After this the party scuttled the chances of Bhagwant Mann and Himmat Singh Shergill by making them contest against me and Bikram Singh Majithia respectively. Now with all the road blocks removed, Sisodia has come to Punjab to make the announcement in a carefully orchestrated move to the accompaniment of drums and calibrated sloganeering," alleged Badal.
The SAD leader said AAP might have succeeded in its game plan of making Kejriwal the CM candidate of the party, but it would not be able to "befool" Punjabis.
"The party including Kejriwal kept saying that a Punjabi will be chosen as its chief ministerial face but has now chosen a Haryanvi who has already bartered away the interests of Punjab on the SYL to Haryana. If Kejriwal comes to power all the interests of the state including those of Chandigarh as well as Punjabi speaking areas also stand to be sold to Haryana," he alleged.
Hitting out at Kejriwal, Sukhbir said Kejrwal had a reputation of being a "professional agitationist".
"Such a person would put Punjab on a collision course with the Centre," he alleged adding this would impact the procurement of food grain from Punjab and affect the future of farming community.
"Punjab will also suffer if the Centre does not give it adequate grants due to the anti-Centre stance taken by Kejriwal," he alleged.