Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday alleged that the recent incidents aimed at inciting violence in Jalalabad and at Lambi were part of a conspiracy hatched by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in alliance with radical organisations.
The recent disturbances in Punjab have occurred shortly after AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held meetings with radical elements, he claimed after filing his nomination papers in Jalalabad.
On Wednesday, a shoe was hurled at Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal by a relative of a radical Sikh leader at his home constituency Lambi, and a group of people threw stones at the cavalcade of Sukhbir in his constituency Jalalabad a few days ago.
Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who accompanied him, also filed her nomination as a covering candidate for the SAD president.
Sukhbir claimed Kejriwal had recently held meetings with the three self-styled jathedars supported by radical elements besides radical ideologue Mokhan Singh. Mokhan heads the United Akali Dal (UAD), a separatist body, that has earlier tried to incite violence in Punjab, he said. Kejriwal also held a breakfast meeting with Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) frontal organisation Akhand Kirtani Jatha spokesperson RP Singh three days back, the SAD president claimed.
“He has also met radical Sikh leader Amrik Singh Ajnala, whose brother attacked Parkash Badal on Wednesday. All this proves that the recent incidents of violence were part of a larger strategy to create trouble in Punjab,” he said.
AAP leader Bhagwant Mann, recently, openly asked people to throw stones at the senior SAD leadership and even admitted this in a television interview, he claimed, adding it had been brought to the notice of the Election Commission.
Sukhbir said all these acts were the result of extreme frustration on the part of AAP. “The party realises that the ground is slipping beneath its feet and that the people are rejecting its anti-Punjab agenda. It is because of this that the party is now resorting to such acts,” he alleged.
Asking AAP not to test the patience of the SAD, Sukhbir said the Akali cadre was quiet because it was peace-loving and was committed to maintain law and order.
“The very fact that peace and communal harmony has reigned in Punjab for the last ten years is testimony of this. This peace was achieved after nearly two decades of turbulence. But now some forces have got together and are resorting to ‘gunda gardi’,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parkash Badal said in Bathinda the rank and file of the SAD have been instructed not to be provoked through deliberate incitements. He said, “When peace and communal harmony go up in flames, those inciting the people to set the set initial spark are the first to run away and escape, leaving the hapless peace loving common people to bear the brunt of tragedy and pay the price for the dangerous games they play”.
Badal asked the people of the state to be aware of the dangers to their unique religious and historical heritage and legacy and remain vigilant against non-Punjabi elements busy in hatching anti-Punjab conspiracies. He said Wednesday’s incident seemed to have a two-pronged strategy. The first was to dilute and damage his image and sour the profound and almost a century-old bond between him and the people of this state.
“It is an unparallelled bond in which I have spent all my life moving about in streets, lanes and by lanes of Punjab cities and villages, visiting every home and meeting the common people of my state to understand and address their problems,” 89-year-old five time chief minister Badal said.
The enemies of our state are aware that SAD is the only party which is Punjabi in flesh, blood and spirit and has lived and grown with the people of the state here. The stakes of the SAD and those of the Punjabis are identical, he said. All the other main contesting political parties are clearly not only non-Punjabi but are instinctively anti- Punjab, he said, adding they have put on a sweet masks merely to befool Punjabis. They pose a serious challenge to the unique identity of Punjabis and even the honour of our people will not be safe, as recent happenings in the Congress and the AAP have demonstrated, he said. These parties are instinctively full of contempt for Punjabis and our culture, he said.