About the memorial raised to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and other Sikh terrorists in the Golden Temple, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has denied he had any clue.
On Wednesday, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar had told a vernacular newspaper that he had taken the Akali leader into confidence. Reacting on Friday, Badal said it was "a core lie".
"I have not read the news but if the SGPC chief has said so, it's a core lie," said the CM when asked to reply, adding: "I was unaware of any monument coming up in the Golden Temple. He is hiding facts."
This was on the sides of his visit to Jalandhar to prepare workers of the state's ruling alliance for the February 23 Jagraon rally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Makkar has stated that since the SGPC is ruled by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Badal is consulted on every decision, including raising any memorial.
Built by radical organisation the Damdami Taksal, the monument is open for public, and during commotion, had attracted criticism from different quarters. The CM has maintained all along that it was the SGPC's decision in isolation.
Even when attacking Makkar, Badal requested newsmen to delete his impulse reaction. "Main question sun ke eme hi gussa kar gya… (I got angry in vain on hearing the question). Meri benati hai aah jhooth wala comment na shaap deyo kitay (I request you not to publish the liar comment)… aakhir oh hai te sadi hi SGPC da chief (after all, he is head of our SGPC only)," he said in his popular witty manner of attacking those who start flying without his noting.
The CM's retort has come amid the reports of Makkar's souring relations with the state's ruling family. Asked to comment, the SGPC president blamed it on the "concocted" news report. He, nevertheless, was keen to know how the CM had reacted.
Tactfully, the CM also ducked questions about his role during Operation Bluestar. "I think the media believe Captain Amarinder Singh more, and he is blowing the issue out of proportion," said Badal.