The second day of three-day Shaheedi Jor Mela on Monday saw Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership pitching the Panth (Sikhism) against ‘Maharaja’ (Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh) and ’topiwalas’ (Aam Aadmi Party).
In a speech filled with expletives, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal called AAP a party of ‘awaragard’ and ‘lafandars’ (vagabonds), saying “they be not allowed to enter our home — Punjab”. Akali leaders who spoke before him compared the SAD-BJP government with “Khalsa raj”.
Being the last Shaheedi Jor Mela before the assembly polls scheduled in early 2017, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal in his no-holds-barred speech cautioned that only Akali Dal could protect of the rights of Sikhs and Punjabis. “If we are voted out, the new government will stop all public welfare schemes such as Shagun scheme, free power and Atta Dal scheme. If you want that these schemes should continue, vote for us,” Badal said.
Badal went on to claim that SAD-BJP coalition was the best government in the country. “If you have a better option, even we will support,” said Badal. Projecting Akali Dal as the protecters of the Panth, the CM said, “Patta patta singhan da vairi (Sikhs have opponents everywhere)... so you decide who to vote for?”
Blaming the Congress for state’s woes, Badal said Akali Dal fought a long battle when the Emergency was imposed in 1975. “Punjab was denied its right over the capital, attempts were made to rob us of our water, Darbar Sahib was attacked...so, what else can we expect from them,” he said.
The conference began with a lukewarm response from the audience, but it picked up when CM Badal and Sukhbir spoke.
As an attempt to clear his stand on allegation levelled by the Congress and AAP that the SAD was a party of one family, Sukhbir said the party that fought for justice to the poor and pride of the Panth was not ‘zaidad’ (personal property) of Sukhbir Badal or Parkash Singh Badal. “Tomorrow, someone else can take its reins,” he said.
Calling Akali Dal as the “maa (mother) party of Punjabis”, Sukhbir said, “Congress is anti-Sikhs and ‘topiwalas’ don’t have a soft corner for you.” He then listed the achievements of the SAD-BJP government in the past ten years.”
Without referring to Bhagwant Mann who has been fielded by the AAP from Jalalabad where Sukhbir is a sitting MLA, he said, “AAP is party of drunkards who have no respect for the Sikh religion”.
Earlier, SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar justified mixing of religion and politics, saying that both complemented each other. “Religion needs raj (rule) to prosper and raj needs a direction from religion,” he said. Former SGPC president Bibi Jagir kaur and Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra also spoke on the occasion.
Sukhbir counters ‘gappi’ tag
Though he doesn’t referred being called a ‘gappi’ by his political opponents, Sukhbir said he delivered whatever he promised.
‘Seize Amarinder’s palace’
Speaking on PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh’s promise for waiving off entire debt of the farmers, Sukhbir said this seemed a distant reality and asked farmers to take over his Patiala palace in case he failed to do so.