An ugly war of words broke out on Wednesday between Punjab’s frontline political parties over the twin bomb blasts that rocked Maur Mandi in Bathinda on Tuesday night.
High-intensity explosives are suspected to have been used in the blasts, which took place immediately after Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi wrapped up his election meeting. The death toll in this suspected terror attack, ahead of February 4 assembly elections, rose to six.
The explosion has sparking-off a no-holds-barred blame game with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress accusing the Aam Admi Party (AAP) for the incident.
The AAP, however, demanded “interrogation” of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for the blasts.
Linking the forces behind the blasts with the AAP, the ruling Badals alleged that the “Khalistani separatist groups” were supporting the AAP to form the next government and disturb peace in the state.
Sukhbir said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s rival candidate from Lambi, AAP’s Jarnail Singh, had addressed “a public meeting of the Khalistani groups” in London a year back.
“The forces behind Tuesday’s blast are siding with the AAP,” the senior Badal later said at a public meeting.
In Patiala, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh blamed Kejriwal for promoting extremist forces such as the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). “Maur bomb blast showed that the inoperative terror cells of the Khalistanis were again getting active,” Amarinder said. “Kejriwal, who had stayed at a KCF extremist’s house in Punjab, was fanning terror forces.” Even if AAP is not directly involved in the bomb explosion, Amarinder said, it was clearly promoting extremist ideology and forces. “Kejriwal does not care who lives or dies,” Amarinder said.
Meanwhile, demanding Sukhbir’s arrest, the AAP said Amarinder speaks the language of Sukhbir.
AAP national general secretary and Punjab in-charge of party affairs in Punjab Sanjay Singh said the AAP gave a complaint against Sukhbir to the Election Commission, seeking his “arrest and interrogation.”
“Frustrated Akalis and Congress are behind incidents of violence and they can commit any heinous crime to disturb the election process,” the AAP leader said, adding Amarinder and Sukhbir are hand-in-glove and creating an atmosphere of terror in the state.