A day after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) show of strength at the first Sadbhawna rally here, the embarrassing pictures and videos of participants collecting liquor boxes on way back from the event have gone viral on the social media.
The boxes in the pictures bear a country-booze brand. Many photographs have buses with Akali flags in the backdrop, and liquor boxes being carried away on the shoulders or kept near the buses for distribution among people returning from the rally, amid a heavy police presence on all the return routes. The SAD distributed no liquor at the event,” said SAD minister and Bathinda district president Sikander Singh Maluka, adding: “People on their own must have pooled money for it or some sarpanches might have given it to them on their own.”
“It is hard to check the social media. If photographs and videos have been uploaded on it in this context, there might be some reality in it that I can’t deny. People do drink and some tired souls might have bought liquor to relax after the rally,” said the rural development and panchayats minister.
The Congress has accused the SAD of distributing liquor on a large scale to lure people to the rally. Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira has said that people knew it was a government-sponsored rally but “nobody imagined a Panthic party could stoop to this level”. “This proves the participants were hired, he said, “the photographs have exposed everything.”