The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday boycotted the flagging off of the Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi by union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to show their resentment over Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) not putting pictures of BJP leaders in the advertisements announcing the event.
Harsimrat along with the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal flagged off the train from Bathinda on Thursday evening on its route back to Delhi. Earlier in the day, Harsimrat along with railway minister, Suresh Prabhu had flagged off the train at the New Delhi railway station.
Advertisements announcing the flagging off of the train published in various newspapers on Thursday morning only bore photos of Sukhbir and Harsimrat. There was no picture of any BJP leader — neither of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi nor railways minister Suresh Prabhu or any state leader — which the BJP did not take to kindly.
District BJP president Parminder Goyal said the party high command had directed them to boycott the event because despite the railways being a central government subject, the BJP had been ignored in the advertisement. “It was not a mere launch of a government bus, or any other state government function. It was the launch of a train sanctioned by the central government, of which the SAD is an alliance partner. In the advertisement, even the photo of chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal was not carried,” said Goyal.
Following directions of party high command, the district Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leadership boycotted the function at the city railway station. BJP state president Mohit Gupta went on to term the issue of the advertisement as intolerable, and so the party decided to boycott the flagging-off ceremony.
“Party workers noticed it in the morning and felt ignored. Then I talked to party state secretary Subhash Sharma who then discussed the matter with state chief Kamal Sharma. I was conveyed the decision to boycott the event in the afternoon which was further conveyed to party leaders and workers in the district,” added Goyal.
A similar incident had happened during the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in Bathinda by SAD MP and union cabinet minister Harsimrat in August. During the launch of this central government scheme, with a purpose to take political mileage out of it for SAD, the photo of the CM was affixed on the envelop by the programme organizers, while no photo of the PM or any other BJP leaders was used.