Cong invitation to Nitish for Punjab event may cause AAP heartburn

Political temperatures are set to rise in Punjab on April 14 when the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) showcase their strengths at an annual harvest festival in Bhatinda district.

In a surprise move, the Congress invited Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to participate in the Baisakhi mela (fair) in Talwandi Sabo.

If Kumar agrees to attend, it is likely to cause heartburn among AAP cadre given that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Janata Dal (United) leader share a good rapport and helped each other in last year’s elections in their respective states.

Besides, the Bihar CM’s adviser Prashant Kishor will steer the Congress’ election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab where the AAP has emerged as a serious contender for power. Both the states go to polls in 2017.

Post Bihar victory, Kumar has become a rallying figure for anti-BJP parties and is increasingly seen in political circles as the face of a possible national alternative to take on the NDA. JD(U) leaders have often suggested that Kumar will be the “consensus” prime ministerial candidate for 2019 polls.

The three parties – Congress, AAP and SAD — had earlier displayed their political might at the Maghi mela in Muktsar on January 14.

By the end of the event, the AAP had taken a clear lead over its rivals though the question remains whether it will sustain the momentum till the next year’s elections.

Now, the battle has shifted to Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1705.

For the Bihar CM, it will be an occasion to connect with Sikhs from Punjab ahead of the celebration of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh at his birthplace in Patna Sahib on January 5, 2017.

The Bihar government is looking to tap the tourism potential of the mega event and expect a complete transformation of the capital city as had happened to Nanded in Maharashtra about 50 years ago at the time of the celebration of 300 years of the coronation of Guru Granth Sahib.

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