Sangrur, April 24: Terming the brazen use of the Akal Takht for political gains as an act of a non-Sikh, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday lashed out at the Badals for playing with the religious sentiments of Sikhs by abusing the community’s highest temporal seat to promote their vested interests.
Such politicisation of religion would backfire on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said the Chief Minister, declaring that “anyone who tries to use the Akal Takht is not a Sikh in my eyes.”
Addressing a public rally before Congress candidate from Sangrur, Kewal Singh Dhillon, filed his nomination papers, Captain Amarinder minced no words in condemning the outrageous attempts of the Badals to undermine the supreme power of the Takht. The Akalis claim to be the custodians of Sikh religion but have always used it to promote their political interests, he added.
Pointing out that even Maharaja Ranjit Singh had bowed before the Akal Takht and served his punishment before it, the Chief Minister said the Badals, on the other hand, had lowered the prestige of the Takht by unabashedly summoning and dictating terms to the Jathedar to promote their political interests. By undermining the esteem of the Takht, the Akalis, led by the Badals, had brought ignominy to the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, he said, lamenting “Where is Sikhi going?” It was time, he said, to save the fabric of the Sikh religion from being torn by such self-seeking people like the Badals, he added.
While the Congress, as a party, studiously stays away from religious affairs by following the path of non-interference, he would extend support to anyone who frees SGPC from the Akal shackles, Captain Amarinder asserted. Violation of the religious institutions was not at all acceptable, he said, recalling that he had resigned from both, the Congress and the government, when “my Darbar Sahib was attacked in 1984.”
The Chief Minister also expressed outrage at the incidents of desecration, and the police firing at Bargari, that rocked the state under the Badal regime. Those who perpetrated such shameful acts will not be spared, irrespective of who is responsible, he vowed.
Captain Amarinder further came down heavily on Sukhbir for reportedly threatening government officers. “How dare he do that? Does he think he is still in power,” he asked, declaring that the people of Punjab will teach the SAD and the BJP a well-deserved lesson.
“The writing is on the wall for these parties,” he said, pointing out that the BJP’s Amritsar candidate had never visited the constituency. It was their choice whom to field but it was obvious they had no support in the state and were unable to find anyone to contest from within, the Chief Minister quipped.
Flaying the Narendra Modi led government at the Centre for its anti-people decisions, including demonetisation which had wreaked havoc on the lives of the common people, Captain Amarinder dismissed the prime minister’s promises as `hollow’. They failed to get rid of black money, they failed to give the promised Rs 14 lakh to every poor, and they failed to double the income of the farmers, he pointed out, adding that the Modi government did nothing for the unemployed youth and brought in a flawed GST which devastated the small traders.
Their new promise of being the `chowkidar’ to safeguard the interests of the nation and its people was another `jumla’, which they (BJP) had come up with in a desperate bid to retain power, he added.
“You (Kewal), and other Congress candidates, have a `jung’ (battle) to fight on two fronts – to help the nation get rid of the anti-people government in order to safeguard the secular and democratic character of the country, and rid Punjab of the Badals” the Chief Minister asserted.