Claiming that some forces inimical to the progress of the state were bent on disrupting its hard-earned peace, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that he would not allow theses forces to succeed till his last breath.
In town to inaugurate the Bhagwan Parshuram Chair for Indian Literature and Culture at Punjabi University, Badal said, "To serve their vested interests, some people are actively working to bring black days back in the state, but I assure you that they will not succeed till I am alive."
The move to name a chair after Bhagwan Parshuram, incidentally, is being seen as an attempt to woo the Hindu community, which had been raising the demand for long. Even at the function, Badal acknowledged the 'massive support' from the community that helped the SAD-BJP alliance get a historic a second term in office after the 2012 assembly elections. Shri Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, and its president Devi Dyal Prashar are said to have played an important role in the setting up of the Chair.
The CM also mentioned, during his speech, that religion should not be misconstrued as communalism.
"Religion is just a way of life aimed at ensuring the overall welfare of all. One should profess his own religion and should not hate the religion of others. Punjab has suffered in the past as some people divided people on religious lines," he added.
Taking a dig at former chief minister and now Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh, Badal said, "Unlike my predecessors who behaved like monarchs by maintaining a distance from the masses, I am always available to the people to serve them."
Later, during an interaction with reporters, Badal refused on comment on Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh's controversial statement that farmer committed suicides due to affairs and impotency. However, he repeated his demand that the Centre must introduce a crop insurance scheme to safeguard the interests of farmers, apart from increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of crops.
University vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh said, "The constitution of the Chair will help in the development of Indian culture and literature."
Punjab higher education minister Surjit Singh Rakhra and Shri Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, president Devi Dyal Prashar hailed Badal as the most secular leader of the country.
Pro-Khalistan slogans raised
Activists of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) (SAD-A) raised pro-Khalistan and anti-Badal slogans during the address by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at the university. Police took the sloganeers into custody and whisked them away. Later, Badal told reporters that such elements should not be paid any attention. "To sustain sectarian values or cultivate fanaticism is dangerous not only for others but also for those who promote its cause," Badal said.