Apparently following the footsteps of its alliance partner, the Punjab Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leadership too seems to be keen on participating in "de-stressing" exercise slated during upcoming Goa "trip", designed by the Shiromani Akali Dal president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal.
Speaking to Hindustan Times here, Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma, who was in the city to attend a function, said that the Goa trip would encourage "informal" interface amongst the SAD-BJP leaders in a “leisure” mood, thus, in turn would “de-stress” the combine leaders from daily hackles of their political life back home.
The BJP leadership, however, preferred to term the Goa sojourn from April 7 to 10 as a “trip” unlike its alliance partner, which termed the same as 'chintan shivir' for obvious reasons.
“It's a new and good trend of hosting such political trips at such locations. It will help strengthen bond between the two parties. The BJP MLAs, MPs and those who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections will be part of the trip,” Sharma said, adding that the individuals would have to make their travel arrangements on their own while boarding and lodging arrangements would be in place at Goa from April 7 to 10.
“The sightseeing in Goa combined with relaxed atmosphere will help us introspect in a better manner. It is the opportunity to strike personal bond with peers,” he quipped. On exhibiting his singing skills, Sharma was quick to reply: “I don't want to force the participants to run away from the place like Goa as they will not be able to bear a bad singer like me even for a minute,” he quipped.
This is to mention here that several Akali leaders, ministers, chief parliamentary secretaries had been informally pursuing Sukhbir to host a “recreation” trip for the past over nine months. They wanted to celebrate historical victory of the SAD-BJP alliance in last assembly elections in Punjab. The victories during Dasuya and Moga by-elections and wresting Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) from Sarna group were also emerged as sound pleas to celebrate the sweet success in “due” manner. The idea of foreign jaunts for “hard working” Akali leadership was also informally discussed at regular intervals, but Goa was finally selected as the venue to host “Chintan Shivir”. Asking the saffron party to join the trip was also decided later.
Sources said that the chief minister PS Badal was not amused of the idea to host such a leisure trip, but Sukhbir prevailed upon the veteran Akali leader on the plea that the two days break would help us further rejuvenate the leadership. Badal had now planned a two days training camp for Akali leaders at Anandpur Sahib beginning April 22.
Former BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia maintained that he would not be able to participate owing to certain prior engagements. “I will miss the deep thinking process going to be undertaken at Goa,” Kalia quipped.
The Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira termed the trip as not only in complete contrast with Akalis' panthic ideology but also amounts to rubbing salt on the wounds of a financially wrecked state.
Khaira said that claims of good governance too have fallen flat with complete absence of the government firstly due to the DSGMC elections, then the unwarranted Moga bye-election and now a luxury tour to Goa.
“While there is total chaos in Punjab on the law and order front, with cops being killed daily by Akali goons and spate of rapes in the state, the junior Badal has preferred to plan a trip to Goa to celebrate his failures as Home and sports minister,” Khaira alleged.