Not long ago when Indian and Pakistan agreed to join hands for building a corridor that would connect Kartarpur gurdwara in Pakistan to the Punjab hinterland in Dera Baba Nanak, there was a huge uproar over the credit claim. As Pakistan silently conceded, to the comfort of its political dispensation, to India’s long-standing demand, back home there was an intense tug of war. It saw Congress’s Navjot Sidhu and the NDA government locked. Both claimed to have done it for the Sikh community and soon it became an emotive issue among the Sikhs, primarily because the gurdwara happens to be a place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent the last 18 years of his life disseminating his thought and philosophy.
As the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab draw closer, it is becoming a hot topic in Gurdaspur and Amritsar region in the election campaign on the border regions.The corridor, according to an understanding between the two countries, so far, is supposed to be in place by November this year to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. As the election heat generates, will the Kartarpur corridor become an election issue?”Not really”, says GS Aulakh in Tarn Taran. Aulakh has been trading around in the region for the last three decades.
He said all Sikhs would find their prayers answered in case the corridor came up to facilitate the devotees. He said at the moment the corridor was not being talked about by the political parties.Amritsar-based Gunbir Singh, a leading businessman, characterised it as an international issue in which he admits that the Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Sidhu did stick his neck around, but at the end of the day it is between the two governments.
Gurdial Singh, a shopkeeper in Dera Baba Nanak, cherished a dream of the corridor as he would often walk up to the Indo-Pak border to take a glimpse of the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.When asked whom would you vote for in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections keeping in mind the corridor, he wondered if it was an election issue. ” It is a matter of faith, not of politics”, he added.
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