Congress leader Harish Rawat was seen cleaning shoes and sweeping the floor at a gurdwara today as part of his promised “penalty” for recently comparing Navjot Sidhu and his team to “Panj Pyare”, an expression of deference to Sikhs.
In a video posted by news agency ANI, the Punjab congressman in charge was seen wiping devotees’ shoes at Nanakmatta Gurudwara in Udham Singh Nagar in his native Uttarakhand.
#WATCH | Punjab Congress responsible Harish Rawat cleans devotees’ shoes, sweeps floor of Nanakmatta Gurudwara near Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand
On September 1, he announced he was sweeping the floor of a gurudwara because he would refer to Punjab party officials as “Panj Pyare” pic.twitter.com/MvK97dtbNT
— ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2021
Followed by a small crowd and TV cameras, Harish Rawat, his head covered, also wiped the floor.
Earlier this week, Mr. Rawat apologized for loosely using a Sikh religious term and promised to atone for it by offering his services at a gurdwara.
“Sometimes, while showing respect, you use words that are reprehensible. I have also made the mistake of using the term Panj Pyare for the Punjab chief (Mr. Sidhu) and his working presidents. I am a student of history and the “Panj Pyara cannot be equated with anyone. My apologies for hurting feelings. As a penance, I will go to a gurdwara in my state and clean the complex with a broom,” he had said.
Mr Rawat had used the phrase when trying to settle disagreements with Mr Sidhu after warning that he had to remove his advisers for their controversial comments about Kashmir and Pakistan or the party would do that. (hyperlink)
“It was my responsibility to meet the chief of the PPCC (Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee) (Mr. Sidhu), or I would say the Panj Pyaras…,” Mr Rawat had said in Chandigarh, with a smiling Mr Sidhu who stood next to him. .
With the Punjab election months just around the corner, comments designed to appease the cricketer-turned-politician provoked a sharp response from the opposition Akali Dal, who demanded an apology from Mr Rawat for “hurling religious feelings”.
“Panj Pyare” describes five “beloved men” chosen by Sikh Guru Govind Singh for the Khalsa or the Sikh religious brotherhood. The Panj Pyare are revered as symbols of loyalty and devotion.