Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal skipped the function organised to mark Bhagat Ravidass Jayanti in Patiala on Tuesday.
A lot of other senior leaders and ministers, including Surjit Singh Rakhra, chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma were also absent. Cabinet minister Sikandar Singh Maluka was one of the few diginitaries present.
The police had made all the prior arrangements for Badal's visit, who is currently campaigning for the party in the Delhi assembly elections, but the deputy CM cancelled the visit at the eleventh hour.
Badal had been invited by Congress' former senior deputy mayor Kabir Dass, and his absence has sown seeds for speculation that Dass could soon be joining the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
It should be mentioned that before the function, Dass was tipped to join SAD as he has been sidelined by the Congress. He was not active during general assembly and Patiala constituency bypolls.
Dass honoured Maluka and presented him with the robe of honour on the occasion.
"Sukhbir and other ministers didn't come due to their busy schedule in Delhi elections. I have come here as a government representative to pay tributes to Guru Ravidass," Maluka said.
He also announced grant of Rs 5 lakh to Guru Ravidass Sabha, Patiala, and Rs 1 lakh each to sabhas in Bahadurgarh, Tafazapura and DMW areas.
"We must follow the teachings of Guru Ravidass and must adopt them in our daily lives. Moreover, we must contribute our bit for the upliftment of minorities and down trodden," Maluka added.
Meanwhile, Dass said that it is good that the government has announced hefty funds above the party lines for the welfare of Guru Ravidass sabhas.
"The function was only a religious one and was organised above the party affiliations. Moreover, the people from different communities, fields and parties paid obeisance at temple on the occasion", Dass said.
Pertinently, the sabha also invited Patiala MLA Preneet Kaur to flag off Nagar Kirtan on February 2, but she also didn't turn up.