Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), which recently announced support for Congress, today hailed the party for appointing a Sikh as the Prime Minister of the country and questioned BJP if it could do so.
"During the Congress-led UPA regime, a Sikh was appointed the Prime Minister and chief of the Army staff and a Sikh ran the financial affairs of the country. Can the BJP do so?" said former Governor and chief of SAD (L) Surjeet Singh Barnala.
SAD (L) is a splinter group of SAD. Barnala lashed out at BJP for fielding Arun Jaitley from Amritsar seat by ousting a Sikh (Navjot Singh Sidhu). Nearly 65 per cent of voters in the Amritsar constituency are Sikhs, he said.
"By fielding Jaitley, BJP had tried to make inroads into the Sikh community and its affairs," Barnala said. Congress has fielded Amarinder Singh from Amritsar.
Welcoming Congress' decision to field Singh, Barnala said his party's 'unconditional' support to Congress was because "its motive is to keep communal forces at bay and put an end to mafia rule in Punjab." Rubishing Akali Dal's claim that Barnala family was a
Congress 'stooge', he said, "We are Akalis by heart, but the present Akali Dal had changed completely with the Badal family controlling it."
Training his guns at SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, Barnala said "Badal had sacrificed the Akali Dal and denigrated the party's character." Barnala said he and his family would work for the victory of Amarinder Singh.
"Amarinder is not only a true Sikh, but a true soldier as well," he said. Surjeet Singh also attacked the BJP leadership for 'ignoring' contribution of some of its leaders.
"Over the years BJP was build by leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Jaswant Singh, but now these leaders are being sidelined in BJP," he added.