An eerie silence prevailed in this village amid threats looming large over two brothers who have offered land for Wednesday’s really of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the bastion of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to announce the party candidate to be pitted against Badal, at the rally that seems to be crucial for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) cadre as well.
The venue of the event was shifted twice earlier amid alleged threats to AAP leaders during the past 24 hours.
The AAP on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the Muktsar deputy commissioner and the Bathinda range inspector general of police (IG) that over 20 cops in uniform and 40 “goons” had barged into the house of party leader Didar Singh on Monday night and threatened him to withdraw his offer to give land for the rally.
As local AAP cadres took the issue as a matter of prestige, Didar’s brother Mehal Singh finally resolved to spare his land for the event, come what may. Mehal too allegedly got threats from the men of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Dyal Singh Kolianwali, who had openly made an attempt to thwart the AAP rally on Saturday, when he announced to hold a kabaddi tournament at the village mandi site, the previous venue for the AAP rally.
“All is well till now,” AAP central observer Romi Bhati said, as a dozen local workers of the party accompanied him on a vigil during the night hours.
Romi told HT that the police was a matter of concern for them now, as they noticed some 20 cops lurking in the dark.
An announcement about Wednesday’s rally echoed from the loud speaker of a local gurdwara, with AAP workers pouring in to congratulate Mehal Singh for braving the threat.
However, two boys hurriedly tied small flags of SAD atop the adjoining dwellings as an assertion by the ruling party that the village stood with it only.
SECURITY IN PLACE: DC
When contacted, Muktsar deputy commssioner (DC) Sumit Jaranagal acknowledged the complaint of the AAP central oserver. “We have assured them security and I have sounded the SSP, who is on the job,” the DC said.
SSP Gurpreet Singh Gill said he had ordered an inquiry into the complaint that had named two cops — ASI Rachhpal Singh and inspector Gursewak, for allegedly leading the threatening men to Didar’s house on Tuesday night.
“We are monitoring the situation and law and order (at the venue) will be maintained,” the SSP said.