Malvinder Mali is grabbing the headlines for riling Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh with his social media posts and remarks on Kashmir and Taliban.
Malvinder Singh Mali, a former government teacher and political analyst, who is now Advisor to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, is grabbing the headlines for riling Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh with his social media posts and remarks on Kashmir and Taliban.
Mali, in a recent TV interview, had said that “Kashmir was a separate country, belonged to Kashmiris, and India and Pakistan occupied it illegally.”
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In another interview, he had said that Amarinder would be happy to see SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal as the next chief minister instead of Sidhu.
The chief minister on Sunday hit out at Mali and Dr Pyare Lal Garg, another of Sidhu’s advisors, asking them to restrict themselves to doing their job. Singh also asked Sidhu to “rein in” his advisers, who he said, should stick to giving advice to the PPCC president and not speak on matters “of which they clearly had little or no knowledge and had no understanding of the implications of their comments”.
Who is Malvinder Singh Mali?
Mali’s social media profile picture is the cover of Jantar Paigam, a Punjabi magazine which he once edited, which has a sketch of Indira Gandhi with a skull, and calls her a “Jaabar” (tormentor). Despite being appointed as Advisor to Sidhu, Mali did not remove this picture.
Mali’s political journey began as a student leader in college and he later became the state general secretary of the Punjab Students’ Union in the 1980s. In 1993, he was booked by the Punjab Police under the National Security Act (NSA) and the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) for his “inflammatory” writings.
Mali has also served as a public relations officer with both Amarinder when he was the chief minister of the state from 2002 to 2007 and then with former CM Parkash Singh Badal.
According to a report by The Indian Express, Mali’s association with Sidhu began in February this year at the wedding of Sidhu’s aide and MLA Pargat Singh’s son in Chandigarh.
“After resigning from the Cabinet, Sidhu had ample time to spend on social media. He watched Mali, who was actively supporting farmers’ protests and criticising the Punjab government. He also supported Sidhu strongly on the issues of the Kartarpur corridor, sand mafia, land mafia, and other issues. Sidhu was so impressed with Mali that when he met him at the wedding, he touched Mali’s feet and got his wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu to do the same, and said Mali was doing a great job to save Punjab,” the report quoted a source as saying.
On Sunday, Sidhu held a marathon meeting with Mali and Garg. After the meeting, Mali wrote on Facebook that the meeting was “99.99 per cent about Punjab’s issues, communal harmony, farmers’ protest, funds crunch, and fighting the forces trying to implement Modi’s agenda in Punjab.”
Talking to the media after meeting Sidhu in Patiala, Mali said, “Whatever I had to say, it is on social media and that is final.”
He also claimed he had been quoted out of context by TV channels. “My views are expressed on my social media. I am responsible for that. How the TV channels quote me, I am not responsible for that. They show distorted clips of my interview,” he told reporters.