Amritsar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal scrubbed dishes at Amritsar's Golden Temple as an apology for what he called an "unintentional mistake" - his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s youth manifesto that uses the image of the Sikh shrine with the party symbol, the broom.
- Arvind Kejriwal washed dishes, offered prayers at Golden Temple
- He sought an apology for using the temple's image on the manifesto cover
- The AAP chief was at the temple for about 45 minutes
He was careful to avoid sweeping the floors - considered an important service for penance - lest he be accused by critics of using his party symbol at the shrine.
Mr Kejriwal scheduled his "sewa" or service before daybreak to avoid the media and crowds but failed to beat either.
"I had come here to offer voluntary service to apologise for the unintentional mistake committed in our youth manifesto... I have peace of mind now," he said.
With folded hands and a handkerchief covering his head, Mr Kejriwal went around the shrine complex, offered prayers and later cleaned utensils at the "Langar hall" or the community kitchen which serves food to over one lakh people in a single day.
The AAP chief was at the temple for about 45 minutes.
Earlier this month, a complaint was filed against the party's spokesperson Ashish Khetan, who was accused of hurting Sikh sentiment by comparing the manifesto with religious books.
"This is our bible, our Gita and our Guru Granth Sahib," Mr Khetan had said while unveiling the 51-point manifesto at an event. Mr Kejriwal, who was also present at the time, was criticised on social media with hashtags like #KejriinsultsGoldenTemple.
Mr Khetan apologised saying he didn't mean to disrespect the holy books, but many Sikh leaders said it was not enough. Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had called it an "act of blasphemy".
The controversy has hit AAP at a time it is preparing for an aggressive election campaign in Punjab, hoping to emerge as a formidable third party in what has traditionally been a direct contest between the Akali Dal-BJP and the Congress.