Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday took strong exception to the move of Haryana government to allow setting up of a separate Sikh body to take over control of gurdwaras in that state from Amritsar-based SGPC, and said it would not be tolerated.
"Any such move by the modern-day Mahants at the behest of Congress will not be tolerated at any cost," Badal said.
He was referring to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) leaders and supporters sitting on a dharna outside the Chhevin Patshahi Gurdwara in Kurukshetra, in their efforts for taking over control of gurdwaras in Haryana in the wake of the State enacting a law for a separate body to manage the affairs of the shrines.
Speaking to reporters after attending a function to mark the death anniversary of late Bahujan Samaj Party leader Maan Singh Manhera at Kharar, near here, on Sunday, Badal said he is committed to "thwart the move of Congress government in Haryana to divide the Sikh community by constituting separate committee for management of gurdwaras."
"Through this sinister move the Congress wants to weaken the supreme body of Sikhs, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC), which is not at all acceptable and will not be tolerated at any cost," he said.
The chief minister claimed that the Congress party was dreaming of retaining power in Haryana, where polls are due in October, "by pursuing its age-old policy of divide and rule, but the wise Sikh voters of the state will not be swayed by these tactics of Congress and they will definitely teach it a lesson for this heinous crime".
"The Sikh brethren of Haryana had already rejected the issue of separate committee by giving a humiliating defeat to its protagonists in the last SGPC elections (2011) and they will definitely repeat their mandate in the forthcoming assembly elections also," he added.
86-year-old Badal said that the sole motive of the SAD was to uphold "at any cost" the sovereignty of SGPC, which had came into existence after countless sacrifices by the Sikhs.
Slamming the Congress party, he said that it was allegedly following in the footsteps of the tyrannical British rulers to wrest the control of gurdwaras "through its agents", whom he termed as modern day Mahants.
When asked to comment on the statement of senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar regarding his own party's senior leadership, Badal refused to comment on the issue while terming it as an internal matter of the opposition party.
Commenting on the ongoing agitation by the Elementary Trained Teachers in the State, the chief minister said that the SAD-BJP government has always been a pro-employee government. He said that the doors of the state government were open for all the employees and an amicable solution of their demands could be found through deliberations.