Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday claimed that Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress was redefining the meaning of ‘anti-national’ to suit his political interests in the same manner as he had done after visiting the Dixie gurdwara in Canada in 2005, dubbing the shrine an “unofficial headquarters of the Khalistan movement”.
Reacting to a statement issued by Amarinder on Saturday that the radical Sarbat Khalsa was a religious congregation and not political or anti-national, the SAD president said the gathering was definitely not anti-national but all leaders occupying the stage were. “It is these radical leaders controlling the stage in league with the Congress who are responsible for defaming the congregation by announcing a separatist agenda. This was not liked by a large number of people who left the venue in disgust,” Sukhbir claimed.
Asserting that Amarinder should correct his definition of ‘anti-national’, the SAD president asked him, “Is the reading out of messages of leaders of banned terrorist organisations religious as you are claiming? Is the demand for an independent Sikh state a religious demand? Is it religious activity to raise slogans of Khalistan and espouse violence to realise this goal?”
Sukhbir asked Amarinder to explain what he meant while claiming that Congress leaders had attended the gathering as “Sikhs”. He said if this was so why they became party to seditious resolutions. Why didn’t they protest and walk out, he asked.
Sukhbir said contrary to what Amarinder was claiming, the series of events had made the Congress role in organising, supporting and drafting of the resolutions clear. “You cannot run away from this in the same manner in which you tried to confuse Punjabis after visiting the Dixie gurdwara in Toronto. Then you had claimed that you had failed to read the Khalistan slogans in the gurdwara. It is best you apologise for the conduct of your partymen and throw them out for attending the November 10 congregation or else people would believe that you supported the secessionists,” Sukhbir added.
He rebutted Amarinder’s statement that the ruling Akalis were frustrated and had failed. Sukhbir said rather Amarinder was frustrated because of the rout of the Congress under his leadership twice in the past assembly polls.
“I also understand your frustration in having failed to grab the post of Punjab Congress president despite grovelling to Rahul Gandhi. You could not have debased yourself more after publicly asserting that Rahul was unfit to lead the party,” Sukhbir said.