Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary and Punjab education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema has condemned the attack on a delegation led by Punjab's NRI affairs minister Tota Singh in New York on Saturday and protests across the US and Canada as the handiwork of a 'few elements with vested interests'.
However, another SAD secretary Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said the party had faced the anger of members of the Punjabi diaspora 'who had many expectations that the party could not meet'.
Ramoowalia added, "Sikhs abroad, who had taken political asylum, have been looking forward to the Akalis to help them return and for solving disputes relating to property. We (the SAD) have failed to meet their expectations," Ramoowalia said.
Cheema, on the other hand, termed the protests as undemocratic. "Some people abroad have become frustrated over the efforts of the SAD leaders to present the real and factual picture of the state and remove misconceptions about the state government and the party," he told reporters in Roopnagar.
A similar view was echoed by SAD MP and party secretary general Prem Singh Chandumajra. "It is the mere frustration of some vested interests who do not want the Akalis to present the true picture of Punjab abroad," he said.
Meanwhile, the SAD, in a press note on Sunday, said the delegation had received a rousing welcome at a gurdwara in Vancouver and the members of the Punjabi diaspora expressed satisfaction over the working of Akali government in Punjab.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa claimed that the incident had sent out a warning to the SAD-BJP regime that the NRIs could not be taken for granted.