After attacking ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over religious conversions and drug trafficking, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has taken the war to a new battleground — Facebook.
On the social-networking website, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir and his MP wife and Union food processing industries minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, have shared YouTube links of Punjabi news videos of speeches of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and the deputy CM from the party’s Saturday conference at Shaheedi Jor Mela in Fatehgarh Sahib.
Sukhbir had last shared a video in April, of an address that Narendra Modi had made during his election campaigning in Punjab before he went on to become Prime Minister.
The deputy CM now has commented above the Jor Mela speech link: “CM blasts conversions, deputy CM says PM can stop drug infiltration into Punjab through border in (just) one day.”
Harsimrat shared this video at 1.23pm on Sunday, a minute before Sukhbir. Above yet another video link, the deputy CM has posted: “They first called us terrorists; now they are calling us drugs addicts. Their aim is to tarnish the image of Punjabis. We will not allow this.”
The Harsimrat and Sukhbir links had received more than 1,000 likes each by Monday evening while 36 and 24 users, respectively, had shared these.
The visitor comments appreciate the Akali stand on religious conversions and suggest ways of approaching the issue. Visitor Shamsher Singh Aoujla comment on the Sukhbir link: “Badal g RSS to bacha lo sikhi nu bahut dhanwad hou tuhada (Mr Badal, please save Sikhism from the RSS (Hindu radical organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), we shall be very thankful to you).”
Since ally BJP has put the onus of drugs trafficking in Punjab on the SAD and party president Amit Shah is coming over next month to launch an anti-drug campaign in the state, the Akalis in a counter-offensive move has announced protests on January 5 at the BSF (Border Security Force) pickets “to pressurise the force to stop drug smuggling from Pakistan”. The SAD has also taken tough stand on religious conversions, and the CM has termed these unfortunate and against the Sikh tenets.