The Nanakshahi calendar controversy rocked the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the ongoing budget session on Thursday, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), coalition partner of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), opposed the ‘objectionable’ content in the calendar.
The calendar, approved by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has mention of the ‘martyrdom day’ of the assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Leader of the opposition Sunil Jakhar raised the issue during zero hour. He said such developments would lead to social unrest and pose a law and order problem in the state. “Let us not inflame communal passions. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is the moderate face of the Akali Dal, but the way things are moving are dangerous to the peace of Punjab,” he said.
In a quick reaction, BJP minister Madan Mohan Mittal said: “There should be no mention of the killers in the calendar and the BJP doesn’t approve of it.”
Indira Gandhi’s assassins Kehar Singh and Satwant Singh are mentioned as “martyrs” in the calendar. The SGPC has also mentioned the date of their hanging as “martyrdom day”.
Giving his statement in the Vidhan Sabha, Parkash Singh Badal promised that nobody would be allowed to disturb peace in Punjab. “I will go home (resign) in case anything goes wrong in Punjab,” said Badal, adding that the seven years of his tenure had been peaceful despite difficult situations arising from time to time, which his government tackled efficiently.
The issue had also rocked Parliament.
BADAL EXPRESSES REGRET
The CM expressed regret for his ‘sarcastic’ remarks against some Congress legislators sitting on the opposition benches while concluding his speech on the governor’s address.
The issue was raised by Independent legislator Simarjit Singh Bains, who said no one in the House had the right to use bad words against any member. Badal immediately stood up and expressed regret. “I regret if anyone is hurt by my words said in a lighter vein,” Badal told the House.