The Akalis and its saffron coalition partner on Friday stepped into an argument started by former state health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla when she accused Union minister for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal of speaking only for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The Akalis didn't like her advising the central minister to take up the compensation case of the families of Punjab's terrorist victims as well. Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal even sought to know the capacity in which Chawla had raised the question. "Is she still in the BJP? Is she still around (politically); according to me, she is gone," he remarked in a casual approach to a query here.
When state BJP president Kamal Sharma was asked to react to this, he said he did not appreciate these words about a senior BJP colleague from a senior member of the Akali-BJP coalition. "I don't know why he (Sukhbir) said it, but we have not liked it and he should not have made the remark. Mrs Chawla is a senior member of our party, who has made a lot of sacrifices for the BJP and the country, during the militancy days in Punjab in particular," he said here.
Sharma agreed with the views of his party colleague on compensation. In Parliament earlier, Harsimrat Kaur, who is also Sukhbir's wife, has appreciated the Centre's granting additional relief to the riot-affected families; and Chawla reminded her here on Friday that as union minister, she ought to have demanded a similar support for all terror-affected families in Punjab, including the kin of the 25,000 security personnel who had died fighting terrorists.