A Chandigarh court on Tuesday reaffirmed its earlier order to hang former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's killer Balwant Singh Rajoana, 43, on March 31 even as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) continued lobbying for clemency for the assassin.
The BJP and Congress too declined to take an unequivocal position on the hanging that has the potential to rouse emotions and bring back memories of the terror-wracked years between the early '80s and mid '90s.
Rajoana dismissed the SAD 's efforts to secure clemency for him as "political opportunism".
He said in a letter released from Patiala Central Jail, "I don't need help from blue-turbaned Akali leaders who have done nothing so far to secure justice for Sikhs."
He said Akali leaders had started speaking up for him now as they fear losing the support of Sikhs if they don't.
The Babbar Khalsa terrorist was the second human bomb to be used by the now virtually defunct terror outfit if the first assassin, Dilawar Singh, had failed to blow himself up on August 31, 1995 outside the state secretariat.
Dismissing the petition of Patiala jail superintendent LR Jakhar , seeking deferment of the execution, sessions judge Shalini Singh Nagpal said, "The execution order is returned for compliance."
Badal rushed to Delhi on Tuesday after meeting a battery of lawyers in Chandigarh following the Akal Takht's directive to him and the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee to take up the clemency issue with President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Badal is slated to meet the President on Wednesday and possibly the PM, too, SAD MP Naresh Gujral told HT.
The Congress, meanwhile, appeared unwilling to intervene, with law minister Salman Khurshid saying in Delhi that neither the Centre nor the state government could "do anything outside the system".
The BJP was caught in a bind. Having pressed for the death penalty for Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, supporting clemency for Rajoana would be in direct contradiction to the party's stand on convicted terrorists.
The state was put on high alert amid calls by radical Sikh outfits for a bandh on Wednesday to protest the impending hanging.