Expressing solidarity with the movement for naming the Mohali international airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh, state Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday flagged off the five-day padyatra of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) from Bhagat Singh’s native village Khatkar Kalan.
The padyatra will culminate at the Mohali airport on January 8.
Speaking on the occasion, Amarinder said, “The SAD-BJP government has failed to honour legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh by not naming the international airport after him. It is unfortunate that PYC workers have to struggle to get the airport named after the great martyr.”
Amarinder regretted that the BJP governments at the Centre and in Haryana preferred one of their leaders Mangal Sein, who had been an MLA in Haryana, to Bhagat Singh, who had given his life at 23 for the freedom of the country. He also condemned the Punjab chief minister’s alleged silence on the issue.
He congratulated the PYC leaders, especially president Amarjit Lally, for starting the 115 km march saying the entire senior leadership was with them. He hoped that wisdom would prevail on the Prime Minister and he would agree to name the airport after Bhagat Singh.
Addressing the youth, Amarinder said he understood their urges and aspirations and promised to come up to their expectations. He said drug peddling was a serious issue, which he had vowed to address in a month of coming to power.
However, at the press conference later, when reminded of the Haryana government’s stand that they wanted the airport to be named as Chandigarh airport rather than Mohali airport, Amarinder said, “If Bhagat Singh’s name is there, Mohali and Chandigarh would cease to be an issue. Be it Mohali or Chandigarh, the airport should be named after the Shaheed-e-Azam.”
Lalli, in his address, said the padyatra was only the first phase of the struggle to get the airport named after Bhagat Singh. Referring to the statements made by some Akali leaders that the government had already announced to name the airport after Bhagat Singh, Laly said the moment it was officially done, the PYC would call off the protest. He said the government had paid only lip service after the PYC announced its programme to protest, and it could not be trusted.
“SAD-BJP leaders are misleading people while no official statement has come from the Centre. The SAD led by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has failed to convince its ally, the BJP. Badal’s daughter-in-law, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is a Union cabinet minister, should resign if she fails to get it implemented. It’s utter disregard to the martyrs,” Lally said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi lashed out at the state government, especially the chief minister, for “failing the state” in all respects.