Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged on Saturday that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress leaders had hurt religious sentiments of Sikhs allegedly by using pictures of Golden Temple, Amritsar, with symbols of their parties on propaganda material. This came in response to a case against AAP leaders over the cover of its youth manifesto released a week ago; but both parties reacted by saying that the posters shown by Khaira were fake.
At a press conference, Khaira showed a poster of Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh next to the Golden Temple with the party’s symbol, the right hand, in a corner. The poster talked about tubewell connections given during the Congress-led UPA regime at the Centre. In the SAD poster, the party symbol, scales, is on top of pictures of the Golden Temple and Virasat-e-Khalsa memorial in Anandpur Sahib; announcing free bus service between the two places for women. Demanding an apology from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his deputy and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, and from Amarinder, Khaira said they should be booked.
In reaction, a Congress spokesperson said, “The picture has been mischievously crafted using Photoshop. AAP’s dirty tricks department has used its expertise to create something that never existed.”
“I challenge Khaira to prove the poster’s authenticity,” said SAD’s information technology (IT) wing head Parminder Singh Brar.
Khaira claimed he had downloaded the two posters from official Facebook pages of Amarinder and Sukhbir. “Let the Congress and the SAD prove the posters are fake; I have snapshots of the Facebook posts.”
A MYSTERY VIDEO
Khaira also released an undated video purportedly run by a vernacular news channel showing SAD leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra (now MP) and Surjit Singh Rakhra (now minister) and Congress leader Preneet Kaur (former union minister and now MLA) allegedly applying vermillion to Guru Granth Sahib during a religious ceremony. This was termed against Sikh tenets by Khaira, who said he had crosschecked the authenticity of the video but did not know when and where the ceremony took place. “I am sure it is not older than 2014, when Chandumajra was elected MP,” he said, and later put the video on his Twitter account too.
Chandumajra said the ceremony took place in the late 1990s and the Akal Takth took notice of the matter. “It had become a big issue then,” he said, “It is unfortunate that AAP leaders are digging out these things to save themselves. If Khaira has become the devil’s advocate, he should use his energies on defending AAP’s mistakes.”