Trudeau targets India to pander to Canadian-Punjabi votebank

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2020, 10:45 PM(IST)

File photo: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  Photograph:( AFP )

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Justin Trudeau is catering to the voters at home, something that got him into trouble a few years ago.

Justin Trudeau is not an average world leader. He enjoys a level of global popularity that rivals rockstars. He is a leader who could probably charm his way through a negotiation.

However, in India, the Canadian prime minister has a different kind of reputation. He has been accused of encouraging separatism against India on Canadian soil. His office invited a convicted terrorist for a reception.

Now, Trudeau has become the first foreign leader to meddle in India's internal affairs. Last week, thousands of Indian farmers launched a protest against three new farmer laws brought in by the government of India. The protest continues, however, the Indian government has opened a dialogue with the farmers.

Ultimately, it is about laws made in India, by the Indian government for the Indian farmer. Foreign leaders have no business talking about it despite knowing that Justin Trudeau and some other foreign leaders decided to weigh-in on India's domestic issues since they want to cater to their own vote banks at home.

That's exactly what Justin Trudeau is trying to do.

The Canadian prime minister was addressing the Canadian-Punjabi community during Gurupurab which kick-started an entire row. It is an influential voting bloc. In the last election, 18 Sikhs were elected to the Canadian parliament. Just for reference, 13 Sikhs were elected to India's lower House last year.

Trudeau's cabinet has four Sikhs. So, the community has a voice at the highest levels of power but that doesn't mean, they get a voice in India's internal affairs. India has made that amply clear with a statement of its own.

The ministry of external affairs said: "We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially pertaining to the internal affairs of a Democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic  conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes."

The statement isn't just for Trudeau but for all those leaders abroad who chose to weigh in on the protests in India. It includes Canadian opposition leader Jagmeet Singh whose party started a petition on its website calling on Justin Trudeau to make a statement on the protests in India.

There were other Canadian lawmakers who issued similar statements recently. Some lawmakers from Great Britain have made similar noises too. These are not Indian MPs. They don't have a vote within the Indian parliament. They have no power to influence the laws made in India. They simply pander to their vote banks.

The question is why wouldn't Justin Trudeau express concern when Islamists held Islamabad hostage during protests against Emmanuel Macron or over the situation in  Thailand where citizens were targeted by the police for protesting against the monarchy.

Justin Trudeau is catering to the voters at home, something that got him into trouble a few years ago.

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