Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday lashed out at chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal for presiding over the colourful inauguration of the Kabaddi World Cup in Bathinda on Saturday amid the state mourning over the demise of former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral.
"It is an act of extreme impropriety and utter shamelessness when the chief minister himself announced state mourning across Punjab that he not only allowed the show of celebrations, festivities, dance and fireworks but also presided over it," Amarinder said in a statement here.
"Was Badal mourning or celebrating the death of the former PM, who happened to be the first
Punjabi prime minister of the country and a great friend of Punjab?" he asked.
He stated that on the one hand Badal was "wailing and whining over the loss of the great son of the soil", but on the other he was "gleefully enjoying the dance show and fireworks to mark the inauguration of the kabbadi tournament".
Amarinder said the Congress would complain to the Punjab governor about "such an impropriety on the part of the Punjab government".
"Governments do not announce state mourning for the sake of formality, which Badal has tried to make it," he observed.
"Badal took a straight flight from Gujral's cremation to the celebrations, which is quite unfortunate and unbecoming of a chief minister," Amarinder stated.
Amarinder also ridiculed Sukhbir's statement that the event was "a world cup".
Cong condemns Kabaddi jubilation during mourning period
The Congress has slammed Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for organising an extravagant World Cup Kabaddi opening ceremony late Saturday night, in spite of a national mourning declared by the Centre in wake of the passing away of former prime minister IK Gujral.
The party also claimed that the Akali Dal had rubbed salt in the wounds of Gujral's grieving son, Naresh Gujral. Naresh is a Rajya Sabha MP from the Akali Dal.
Former Congress MLA from Bholath, Sukhpal Khaira said that it was shocking that a veteran politician like Badal had chosen to inaugurate the event, when the nation was not in a mood to celebrate. He said that it was even more disgusting, considering that Badal and IK Gujral had been friends for long.
He claimed that the Badals' action had undermined the contribution of Gujral towards India. Khaira said that in view of the tragedy, the opening ceremony should have been postponed or kept a low-key affair.
"It shows that Akali Dal has little respect for Gujral, who was instrumental in waiving Rs. 8,500-crore term loan of the state during the days of militancy," Khaira added.
The Dal Khalsa has also taken exception to the government going ahead with the celebrations, in spite of the colossal loss to the country after IK Gujral's death.
"What a shameful act by the Punjab government," said party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh. The organization also appealed to Naresh Gujral to quit the Akali Dal. It also said that the Badals wer shame-proof.