Punjab BJP leadership on Thursday stayed away from the stage of its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), at the Hola Mohalla congregation here, unlike the trend of the allies posing together in public on such religio-political events.
“Der aaye durust aaye” (better late than never), Badal quipped on the arrival of Mittal at the fag end of his speech, sending those on the stage into peals of laughter. Badal then invited Mittal, who is the MLA from Anandpur Sahib, to address the congregation. Mittal thanked Badal for the congregation at the “religious and historic place”, counting the achievements of the Akali-BJP government.
It was at the last Maghi mela congregation at Muktsar on January 14 that Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma had made his significant presence for all the ‘bonhomie’ in the hour of crisis between the two allies then.
Badal, in his speech, refrained from attacking the Congress or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and restricted it to the government’s development works.
The gathering at the SAD conference was far from impressive and was thin as compared to last years’ conferences.
Badal announced that the state government would make allocation in the forthcoming budget for the 350th foundation-day celebrations of Anandpur Sahib town to be held in June this year, in a befitting manner. He said he would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the function.
The other SAD leaders present on the occasion included deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, education minister Daljit Singh Cheema and Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhunder.
Sukhbir, in his address, highlighted various ‘pro-people’ schemes of the government.
The chief minister also visited Dashmesh Academy and planted a sapling there to mark the tree plantation drive, besides reviewing the performance of the school.
The others who spoke on the occasion included Istri Akali Dal president Bibi Jagir Kaur, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK and SAD leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.
‘Stand on federalism vindicated’
Badal, in his speech, said the SAD’s stand on federalism was vindicated with the NDA government’s decision to increase the pie for the states from the central taxes from 32% to 42%. Badal also appreciated the Modi government at the Centre for scrapping the Planning Commission.
badal Thanks people
Badal also thanked the general public for the mandate to the Akali-BJP alliance in the recent civic polls. “The mandate has increased our responsibility and we will serve the people with more vigour,” Badal said.
‘AAP no threat’
Later, at a press conference, Badal said the Aam Admi Party (AAP) was no threat to the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab. “I do not see even a small threat to the alliance of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party from the AAP,” Badal said.
He said the state government would continue to demand financial package from the Centre.
He expressed sadness over the decision of the Delhi high court upholding the 10-year jail sentence awarded to former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son, Ajay Chautala, in aJBT teachers’ recruitmentscam case.