Overseas Punjabis Flock Home With A Poll Agenda

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They want parties to ensure security of their landed properties.

CHANDIGARH – Scores of organisations and groups of overseas Punjabis are making a beeline for their ancestral homes in an endeavour to extract assurances from top leadership of major political parties about the security of their landed properties here.

“Election is the best time to get a commitment from the politicians,” says Dalwinder Singh Dhoot, Chairman of the North American Punjabi Association (NAPA). “Though ours is an apolitical organisation, we still want to hear the agenda of leaders of all major political parties of Punjab on taking the state forward. This is why we have called leaders of the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Punjab Peoples’ Party at a convention in Chandigarh on December 24.

“Besides the long-standing concerns of overseas Punjabis, we are also worried about the negative picture of this once forward-looking state by the media outside. We are now known in the western world more for our love for booz , drugs, bhangra and kabaddi than an economic power,” he says.

Satnam Singh Chahal, Jaspal Singh Mann and Santokh Singh Judge, all from the NAPA, have similar concerns. “We are a diminishing community that still feels attached to its ancestral roots. If things are not rectified, our second and third generations will have no choice but to severe all ties with their roots,” says Chahal.

“Our landed properties are not safe here. How can the government expect us to invest in Punjab? Punjab should learn a lesson from Gujarat where complaints of land grabbing of overseas Indians is unheard of,” says Dalwinder Singh Dhoot.

Most of the overseas Punjabis, who are camping in Punjab ahead of assembly elections, say that the decision to allow the NRIs to vote is no good.