The state Congress leaders on Saturday demanded an apology from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for “denigrating” supreme Sikh institutions like the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the 350th foundation day celebrations of Anandpur Sahib on Friday.
The Congress leaders also questioned Badal why he forgot to raise the implementation of the Anandpur Sahib resolution on which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has done politics for years.
In a statement, party legislators Rana Gurjit Singh, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria said the government ignored the status of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh by calling him to address the conference at Anandpur Sahib in the beginning, whereas he should have winded up the speeches of religious leaders.
Moreover, people had just started reaching the venue when he was told to address the thin gathering. They said even Harnam Singh Dhumma, who heads a comparatively less important institution, a non-entity like Tarlochan Singh and yoga guru Ramdev were given precedence over the Akal Takht jathedar and SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar.
The Congress leaders charged Badal with exploiting this historic occasion to promote his narrow political interests by converting it into an Akali conference rather than inviting leaders like former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Sikh scholars.
What to talk of inviting Congress leaders, Badal didn’t even invite Sikh leaders from other parties, states and countries. They asked whether it was a pre-condition to be an Akali for being a Sikh or a Panthic? They alleged that Badal had been misusing gurdwara funds to promote his vested political interests.