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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Cong seeks to corner Jaitley on Sikh issues

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, March 22, 2014
First Published: 12:07 IST(22/3/2014) | Last Updated: 12:10 IST(22/3/2014)

In a bid to corner the high-profile BJP candidate Arun Jaitley in the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress has sought to know his views on the Shiromani Akali Dal’s demand for a constitutional amendment to declare Sikhism as a separate religion.

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“Does he consider Sikhs a separate religion as demanded by SAD and support the proposed amendment (to Article 25 Section 2 of the Constitution) or he feels the Sikhs are a part of Hindu religion? Does he favour a uniform civil code as per the BJP policy or does he support a separate law for the Sikhs?” asked Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a statement issued here on Friday.

The second issue that Khaira put before Jaitley was the plight of the Sikh farming families of Kutch (Gujarat), who face the spectre of eviction at the hands of the Narendra Modi government. The Congress leader asked the BJP candidate to clarify as to why the Modi government had not withdrawn the special leave petition (SLP) that it had filed before the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Ahmedabad high court which went in favour of the farmers.

Khaira reminded Jaitley that an assurance was given by the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, while addressing the Jagraon rally on February 23, that he would withdraw the SLP.

The PPCC spokesman also sought to know Jaitley’s views on the issue of transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and his stand on the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) issue. He asked the BJP nominee to clarify whether he will commit his support to Punjab and oppose the water sharing claims of Haryana and Rajasthan.

In another poser to Jaitley, Khaira asked him whether he would support the Akali demand for inclusion of Punjabi speaking areas left out of Punjab while carving the state of Haryana in 1966.

“What are your views on ‘Operation Bluestar’, will you condemn the action or do you support the views of your senior leader LK Advani who had favoured an army action in Punjab?” the PPCC spokesman asked.

Khaira also asked the BJP leader to make public his stand on whether he supports the Akali demand for clemency to Balwant Singh Rajoana, Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and other Sikh militants who have been sentenced to death. Another issue that the PPCC leader put before Jaitley was the Anandpur Sahib resolution, supported by SAD, but opposed by several BJP leaders in the past.

“Amritsar, the most prestigious Lok Sabha seat and the religious capital of the Sikhs, is not the personal fiefdom of the Badals or Majithias, which they can pass on to an outsider or a politician who has no concern for the issues related to the state.

So before you (Jaitley) go out to ask for votes, please clarify your stand on the above issues”, Khaira demanded while also challenging the BJP nominee to a public debate on the issues.

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