Targeting the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) over sacrilege incidents, Congress leader Ramanjit Singh Sikki on Monday appealed to Khadoor Sahib voters to boycott the assembly bypoll slated for February 13.
Sikki, who resigned as the Khadoor Sahib MLA in November 2015 to protest the sacrilege of the holy book in Tarn Taran, asked voters to introspect as why the byelection was necessitated and whether the issue on which he resigned was resolved or not.
Sikki was addressing a meeting of party workers at his residence at Rashiana village after returning from the annual one- month sewa at the Golden Temple.
He was accompanied by his political mentor and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh and several other local Congress leaders.
Sikki appealed to party workers to abide by Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh’s decision to stay away from the bypoll.
Stating that the Akalis had made a mockery of the Akal Takht, he claimed the ruling regime was misusing power. He condemned police for opening fire on protesters at Behbal Kalan village in Faridkot that resulted in death of two persons in October last year.
Sikki reiterated that he had resigned from the state assembly over an issue that had hurt all Punjabis. “Since the issue remains unresolved, there was no point in contesting the election and going back to the same assembly with same people who have no respect for Sikh sentiments”, Sikki said while justifying the bypoll boycott call.
“No action has been taken yet against those responsible for sacrilege in Bargari (Faridkot) and Baath village in Khadoor Sahab assembly segment,” he said.
The extreme insensitivity of the Akalis was reflected when chief minister Parkash Singh Badal held a ‘sangat darshan’ at Baath village and didn’t utter a single word on punishing the guilty, added Sikki.
“For me, the cause for which I resigned is more important than contesting or winning the poll”, Sikki said, adding, “elections will keep on coming and going, but the principles cannot be compromised”.
Sikki thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for supporting his decision on Capt Amarinder Singh’s recommendation.
Lauding Amarinder, Sikki said by boycotting the election he had once again proved that he actually cared for Sikhs’ interests in sharp contrast to the self- proclaimed guardians of the Sikh community such as Badals.
Sikhs can never forget Bargari: Rana Gurjit
While addressing the meeting, Rana Gurjit Singh said the sacrilege of the holy book at Bargari village has deeply hurt Sikh sentiments and community members will be never able to forget the incident.
“Instead of punishing the guilty, police opened fire on peaceful Sikh protesters”, he added.
He said Sikki had resigned from the post without consulting any other party colleague, including him, but the party fully backed him.