Dhuri (Sangrur)/Patiala: The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday launched a frontal attack on former Punjab chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala, calling him a ‘backstabber’ and a Congress mole.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal hit out at Barnala during a press meet in Patiala, while deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal targeted him while launching the party’s campaign in poll-bound Dhuri.
Badal accused Barnala of backstabbing the SAD, the political party to which the latter originally belonged and thanks to which he occupied the coveted positions of chief minister, governor and Union cabinet minister.
“Barnala was probably the only leader to whom the SAD gave all respect and recognition, but in return he ditched the party by fielding his grandson Simarpreet Singh Barnala on the Congress symbol for the Dhuri byelection,” the CM said.
At Dhuri, Sukhbir said the Barnala family’s Congress links, which were always used against the interests of the state, had finally been exposed.
The SAD president said fielding Simarpartap was not an act in isolation. “It is a continuation of Barnala’s close coordination with the Congress during a turbulent period in Sikh history,” he added.
Sukhbir also pointed out that Barnala had used the name of late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to further his political career. “He never followed the ideals of Sant ji but instead used him to grab political power in Punjab in collaboration with the Congress.” He said the ‘deep-rooted’ conspiracy hatched by Barnala to undermine the SAD on the directions of the Congress had been further exposed by Simarpartap’s candidature.
“It was strange and even condemnable on the part of the Barnala family that Simarpartap had been fielded on the Congress ticket against SAD candidate Gobind Singh Longowal, the political heir to Sant Longowal,” he added.
The SAD president also oversaw preparations for the party’s campaigning and asked Akali leaders to start canvassing in areas assigned to them.
Akali MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said the byelection had provided a golden opportunity to the people of Dhuri to kickstart development of their constituency by electing an SAD legislator. He also lauded the Panthic credentials of Gobind Singh Longowal as well as the legacy he represented.
Others present on the occasion included chief minister’s adviser Maheshinder Singh Grewal, ministers Tota Singh, Ajit Singh Kohar, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Sohan Singh Thandal and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, and senior Akali leaders such as Bibi Jagir Kaur and Sucha Singh Langah, besides a several legislators and district party presidents.