All-party meeting resolves to celebrate Parkash Purb jointly

SAD, BJP NOT PRESENT Govt to invite leaders of all political parties, both state and central, for Nov 12 event at Sultanpur Lodhi; speeches to be restricted to propagating Guru’s philosophy and life
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON NOV 02, 2019 06:08 AM IST

An all-party meeting chaired by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh on Friday resolved to jointly celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi.

The state government has planned a mega event at Sultanpur Lodhi, where the first Sikh guru spent over 18 years of his life. It was observed at the meeting that even on earlier occasions, all such celebrations were organised by the state government and leaders of all political parties had jointly participated in it.

The state government will set up its own stage on the occasion despite an appeal from the Akal Takht jathedar to join the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in celebrating the historic event.

The meeting regretted that some political parties have decided to hold parallel celebrations on this pious occasion for their vested interest, sending a wrong message to the Sikh community across the world, according to an official spokesman.

The meeting resolved that the state government will invite leaders of all political parties, both state and national, for the November 12 function. In keeping with the religious sentiment of the event, all speeches will be restricted to propagating the Guru’s philosophy and his life, the spokesperson said.

Besides the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, and state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar were present at the meeting. Others who attended the meeting included Harbans Singh Kandhola (SAD 1920), Bhupinder Sambhar and Hardev Arshi (CPI), Gurparamjit Kaur Taggar (CP-M), Sewa Singh Sekhwan (SAD Taksali), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi (Sant Samaj), Jasbir Singh Garhi (BSP), Manjit Singh Bilaspur (AAP) and Harpal Singh Cheema (leader of opposition).

The CM said the state government had been keen for all parties and their representatives to join its main event, irrespective of different political ideologies. The historic occasion should have been kept above petty politics, he said, adding that he had also requested the Prime Minister for a single function, to which he had agreed but things eventually did not work out.

Lashing out at the Akalis for politicising the issue, the CM said he was in favour of joint celebrations from the outset and, in keeping with this sentiment, will be addressing the gathering from the stage at the event being organised by the Union government at Dera Baba Nanak on November 9.

Sekhwan recalled that when he was a public relations minister in the Akali government, all events were organised by the state government, but now they were crying foul, thus clearly exposing their double standards.

Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi said though the SGPC and Akal Takht have the right to celebrate religious functions, they were both unfortunately no longer independent bodies and were completely in the grip of one family. The sanctity of the “hukamnamas (religious edicts) issued by the Akal Takht are under threat, he said.

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DIDN’T GET INVITE: SAD, BJP

The SAD and its ally BJP claimed that they didn’t get any invite for the all-party meeting. The allies hit back at Amarinder for showing his team of “courtiers” from little known parties at the meeting.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said chief minister had revealed his true colours and finally come out in the open to challenge the supremacy of Akal Takht by defying its edict to participate in the joint celebrations being organised by the SGPC.

“The truth is before the Sikh sangat. After playing hide-and-seek for more than two months and even claiming that he would abide by the directives of the Akal Takht, the CM had put in action the Congress’ sworn policy to desecrate the highest temporal seat of the of the Sikh Panth,” he said.

The SAD chief said Amarinder tried to create a joint front against Akal Takht by calling a so-called all-party meeting which was attended by its B team – the Aam Aadmi Party — as well as forces that don’t have any faith in the Sikh religion or splinter groups that don’t have any base among the people of the state.

State BJP chief Shwait Malik said the BJP, a national party which is running a government at the Centre, was also not invited for the meeting.

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