The impact of the Haryana election results was all over the foundation-stone-laying ceremony of Punjab Jung-e-Azadi (war of independence) Memorial at Kartarpur near here.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday laid the stone in the presence of prominent leaders from all parties, including the rival Congress. Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) think tank had planned it as a non-political show, the fallout of the drubbing that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had given the Akali-INLD combine in the neighbouring state was visible.
Assertive BJP leaders took indirect potshots at the state government over the issue of drugs, which in the recent Lok Sabha elections had hurt the SAD.
State BJP president Kamal Sharma, as first speaker on the occasion, appreciated the CM for the memorial idea but said a bigger war was needed against narco-terrorism, to save even the diaspora abroad.”
“Punjab aaj nashon ke aage jhukta hua dikh rha hai…bade dukh ki baat hai (Today, Punjab appears to be surrendering to drugs…it’s sad),” said former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar, who is in charge of the BJP affairs in Punjab. Chhattisgarh governor and former BJP stalwart Balramji Dass Tandon also sought firm steps against drugs to protect the hard-earned independence. “Countries that don’t protect their young generations slip into slavery again,” he said.
“Some governments believe in khao peeyo aur aish karo (eat, drink and make merry). This attitude doesn’t help,” said Tandon, at the same time lauding Badal for building a memorial that would be a major tourist destination. The Akali leaders, including the CM and deputy CM, did not say a word on the matter. Badal asked parties to work together for development. “The memorial is a tribute to the unsung heroes of the freedom movement and the sacrifices of Punjabis especially,” he said.
Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal said Punjabis always followed the teachings of the Sikh Gurus who had taught people to fight for right. “Those who sacrificed their present to for the country’s tomorrow never died really. Their memorials will carry their message to the next generations,” he added.
From the Congress, state leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar, former state party president Dr Hanspal, and former Puducherry governor Iqbal Singh attended the function.
Function halts paddy lifting in Jalandhar
The state-level function for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Jung-e-Azadi memorial at Kartarpur on Sunday affected lifting of paddy from various grain markets in the district. No paddy has been lifted for two days at the new grain market in the city since the main road leading to Kartarpur on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway was blocked by the administration since chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was to attend the function. A survey of two grain markets in the city reveals that the procured paddy in gunny bags was lying there due to blockage of the Jalandhar-Amritsar road in Kartarpur.