Profile: NRI Bajwa will contest on Sidhu’s Seat  


December 2006
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By Premendra Agrawal



Tags: Sidhu NRI Conf Bajwa Chandigarh Punjabi America Dual Citizenship Voting right America USA Gurdwara bride grooms Information Technology Jail Tag this

Sidhu gets 3 yrs jail but still a challenge to Amrinder Singh in coming assembly election. Create effective lobby as Zeus. Bajwa of Chandigarh said Citizenship without political rights means nothing.


Sidhu gets 3 yrs jail but still a challenge to Amrinder Singh

When sentence was being given, Sidhu, dressed in a blue suit and turban, was present in the jam-packed court during the arguments which lasted two hours. BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Avinash Khanna, Satyapal Jain and Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema were also present in the court. Sidhu resigned from Parliament after the verdict, but has hinted that he would remain in politics and campaign during the Punjab Assembly elections in February.


NRI Bajwa wants to contest on Sidhu’s Lok Sabha Seat

NRI Vikramjit Bajwa, has joined the BJP on November 11. He was made the in-charge of the party’s NRI Cell. He said in a letter to the party President Rajnath Singh, “I wish to offer myself to be considered as a BJP party candidate from Amritsar where Sidhu resigned.” Bajwa in his letter released to the press here added, “I will relentlessly work for the residents and make sure that nobody, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, make any false promises.”


Bajwa Grew up in the Chandigarh

Vikramjit Bajwa from California , who with other NRIs thought of celebrating the Democrat victory here in India , said there were over 2.3 million Punjabi voters in the US . He said that nearly 80 percent of these were Democratic Party supporters. Bajwa, 46, who grew up in the Chandigarh city schooling at St John’s but migrated to US 1979 to become a real estate broker, said NRIs had a definite interest in US elections and would be counted in the 2008 presidential elections too.

Bajwa seeks quota for NRIs in Punjab poll


Five seats in every political party in Punjab should be reserved for Non-Resident Indians. These views were expressed by a US-based NRI and vice-president of Indian National Overseas Congress Vikramjit Singh Bajwa at a press conference held today. Bajwa is also a member of the Democratic Party in USA .


Bajwa said that he had met various leaders including BJP chief Rajnath Singh, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Shamsher Singh Dullo and also Avinash Rai Khanna. He has floated the proposal that seats should be reserved for NRIs preferably in Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The aim, he says, is to get more NRIs in the Assembly.


Citizenship without voting rights means nothing

The grant of dual citizenship with voting rights during the Parvasi Divas in New Delhi in 2007 should go a long way in strengthening the political rights of the NRIs, he hoped. “Dual citizenship is welcome. But citizenship without political rights means nothing. Take the example of Israel where the President came from the US after living there for 30 years. Why not allow NRIs to participate in the political process of the country to give them a sense of security and equality,” asserted Mr Bajwa.
He has urged the UPA and BJP leadership to pass the voting rights bill in the November session.


Dissatisfaction on the Punjab Government

Expressing dissatisfaction on the working of the governments in Punjab , whether represented by Akali Dal or Congress, Bajwa said that they have never fulfilled any need of the NRIs. In fact the number of false cases filed against them is increasing. He also called the NRI Sabha in Jalandhar a defunct body.

The earlier concept of the elderly NRIs returning to their native states for retirement was undergoing a change in the fast-changing socio-economic scenario and the NRIs were returning to their roots in the states like Punjab and Kerala in the age group of 45-50 years for doing business and settlement. This necessitated the voting rights for the NRIs, which all major political parties had promised to bring out, Mr Bajwa claimed.


Punjab Government should set up trade & tourism centers in America

Bajwa said that they want the Punjab Government to set up trade and tourism centres in North America from where NRIs could get the latest information about investment opportunities available in Punjab . Mr Bajwa, who is Vice-President of Indian National Overseas Congress, say that some of the NRIs were skeptic about promises made from time to time but were not honoured. For example, he said, the Punjab Government promised to promise NRIs as nambardars in villages. But it did not happen even after more than a year.


Don’t be limited only up to Gurdwara eledtions

Bajwa feels that Indian community in USA was still keeping itself aloof from the political system there. Except for gurdwara elections, where they spend lakhs of dollars, they refuse to get into political process. “My effort was to make them move from gurdwaras to get assimilated in the local political system as well. Now I have set my next target to Congress election in 2007,” said Mr Bajwa.

NRI Conf on Dec 11

An NRI conference would be held on December 11 in the Chandigarh city which would be specifically for the upcoming elections in Punjab . A list of NRIs who are interested in contesting would be prepared by December 15. In this selection 50 per cent of the candidates would be women. He said that NRIs, especially those in the USA , were doing their best for the country by supporting and partially funding India Caucus which has now 103 Congressmen, both of Republicans and Democrats.

Mr Bajwa, who is also a prominent Democrat activist in the USA , also made a fervent appeal to strengthen the Democratic Party in the US Congress and the Senate. The strengthening of the Democratic Party could restore the balance of power in the White House and ensure a comparatively peaceful world.


NRIs should influence voting just like the Zeus

‘ NRIs want the Punjabis to influence voting in US just like the Jews from Israel have built a strong lobby for themselves in the American system.

He said NRIs had started a campaign in recent months in the US to register more voters from the India-American and Punjabi community so that they could stand up and be heard. The campaign started after the discrimination against turbaned, bearded and brown skin people increased in the post 9/11 scenario, Bajwa added.


Problem of NRI grooms and bridegrooms

Mr Bajwa said that he was also keen to seek a long- term solution to major problem of NRI grooms and bridegrooms leaving their spouses back home. “It is something which is affecting the whole community. There is a large community of Indian immigrants whose applications for political asylum are pending. They are also responsible to a large extent for this problem as they cannot sponsor their spouses till their cases are settled.”


Information Technology

Mr Bajwa donated Rs 51,000 for treatment of poor children at the General Medical College and Hospital here. Vikramjit Bajwa Bajwa presented the cheque to Punjab Governor S F Rodrigues during a meeting here. During his interaction, Bajwa assured more help from his NRI friends to save the lives of children belonging to poor and needy families.

He also made offers for joint ventures in sectors like information technology, education and health and for setting up of a super-specialty hospital in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, of which Rodrigues is the administrator.



By Premendra Agrawal