Today I woke up to the shocking news that former Aam Aadmi Party leader Jarnail Singh has succumbed to Covid-19.
Condolence messages were pouring in from everywhere. But one particular tweet caught my attention. It was a condolence message from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
He has tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the untimely demise of former Delhi MLA Sh Jarnail Singh ji. May God bless his soul. He will always be fondly remembered for his contributions to society.”
I couldn’t help but remember my last meeting with Jarnail ji.
It was in mid 2018 at his residence in Lajpat Nagar.
I was covering the Aam Aadmi Party and the Delhi government and was chasing him for some documents.
After some pleasantries, we settled in the drawing room for a detailed discussion.
My very first question to him was why was he not active in the party.
Prompt came the reply, “Will Kejriwal let me be?”
“What? But, isn’t he the one who brought you to the party and gave you a ticket in 2014?”
He started laughing. But the anger was palpable in the laughter. Then he narrated his story.
Kejriwal has started sidelining him in the party soon after the party’s victory in 2015 Delhi assembly elections. He was censored on many occasions.
“But why?”, I asked.
“Because Sanjay Singh and his henchmen are instigating Kejriwal against me”, he replied.
Then came the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections. The party (read Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh) decided to field Jarnail Singh against then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Jarnail ji readily agreed. Then came Keriwal’s formula of getting rid of somebody he doesn’t like.
Jarnail ji was asked to resign from the Delhi Assembly. He was MLA from Rajouri Garden.
He smelled the cat. He did not want to resign from the Delhi Assembly.
“I could have always contested against Parkash ji without resigning from the assembly. But Kejriwal did not relent”, he said.
Kejirwal visited his residence to convince him to resign and also swore in the name of Jarnail ji’s old mother that if he lost from Punjab, Kejriwal would rehabilitate him in Delhi.
“I always knew I would lose against Parkash ji but when Kejriwal swore in my old mother’s name, I relented”, Jarnail ji said.
Months passed after the loss in Punjab and there was no news from Kejriwal. Jarnail ji’s every attempt to contact him was stonewalled.
“Many times I tried to contact him but to no avail”, Jarnail ji said angrily.
Jarnail Singh had shot to limelight when he threw shoes on then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in 2009. He was angry with the Congress party protecting the accused in the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots.
This is the story of Jarnail Singh whom Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal remembered in a tweet today.