Chandigarh, October 13
In a stinging response to Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s latest tirade against his government, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday reminded the Akali leader that it was her own Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) regime that had shamelessly and willfully heaped humiliation on the Akal Takht Jathedar in sharp contrast to his government, which had always treated the Sikh temporal seat with exemplary respect.
For 10 years, the Akalis, including Harsimrat, had been totally drunk on power, sparing neither the Akal Takht nor the people of Punjab from their tyrannical control, said the Chief Minister, asking the Union Minister to stop indulging in such blatant falsehoods for her petty political gains.
“Everyone knows how you (Akalis) maliciously ill-treated Akal Takht Jathedars, out of sheer arrogance, and continue to abuse the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) by dictating terms of them,” Captain Amarinder said, reacting to Harsimrat’s allegations on his government over the issue of joint celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev's 550thbirth anniversary.
“She has no scruples, none of the Akalis have,” said the Chief Minister, pointing out that while Harsimrat was singing praises for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, her husband, Sukhbir Singh Badal, was going around appealing for forfeiture of the BJP candidates’ deposits in the campaign for the Haryana elections.
Their obnoxious double standards had long been exposed to the people of Punjab, who have outright rejected the Akali leadership time and again, since their absolute rout in the 2017 Assembly polls in the state, said the Chief Minister.
Pointing out that he had, for months, been personally engaging with the SGPC and appealing for a joint celebration for the 550th Prakash Purb, as befitting of the occasion, Captain Amarinder said it was the SAD which had been persistently scuttling his efforts in their game of upmanship. While the Akalis had always exploited religion for political gains, he (Captain Amarinder) had expected them to show some decency in the case of the historic 550th Prakash Purb celebrations, said the Chief Minister, adding that “the Akalis evidently had no shame when it came to the promotion of their personal interests.”
The manner in which they had been going, on the side, to invite the Prime Minister and other central government leaders for the separate event of the SGPC clearly exposed their revoltingly true intent, Captain Amarinder said.
“What is this if not a desperate bid to hijack the religious event for their own interests?” he asked, adding that by announcing the reported and unconfirmed programme of the Prime Minister and President, Harsimrat had even lowered the prestige of these high offices. It is the job of the Prime Minister’s Office and Rashtrapati Bhawan to release the programmes of these dignitaries but Harsimrat was notoriously disregarding protocol in her desperation to flaunt her non-existent power in the central government. If she really had any significant role there, would she not have ensured some benefit, in all these years as a union minister, for the people of her state, he asked.
All the Akalis were interested in was to bald-facedly take undue credit for every bit of work being done by his government, said the Chief Miniser. But he had hoped that at least in the matter of this historic religious event, they would behave with more responsibility, said Captain Amarinder, adding that Harsimrat and the rest of her clan, however, seemed to have apparently given up even the smallest pretense of decency and dignity.