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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Guru’s 550th birth anniv celebrations: Prez accepts SGPC, SAD invite; state govt still making up mind

chandigarh Updated: Sep 21, 2019 01:54 IST
Hindustantimes
         

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday accepted an invitation extended by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for attending Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations event, with the Capt Amarinder Singh-led state government that plans to hold a parallel function yet to invite him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already accepted the gurdwara body’s invitation for the event which will be held in Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had said in July. So far, the state government has not invited the PM either.

State technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi accused the SGPC of playing solo. “The SAD and SGPC are unnecessarily extending invitations when the state government is organising the main function with all prominent persons and dignitaries going to attend it,” said Channi from Dublin, Ireland, over phone. He is on a trip to Europe to extend invitation to the diaspora to attend the function.

“We also plan to invite the President and the Lok Sabha speaker for a special session of the Vidhan Sabha in November and will also take them to Sultanpur Lodhi to the main event,” Channi added.

“The Punjab government has also sent an invitation to PM Modi,” he said.

His cabinet colleague Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa echoed his views, saying, “On the one hand, they (SGPC, Akalis) are pushing for a joint event, but on the other, they are reaching out to top dignitaries alone.”

EYEING A BOOSTER

With Friday’s development, the Akali Dal, which has a majority in the apex gurdwara body, got a shot in the arm since it feels the event will be a booster for the party that has been at a low ebb after the 2015 sacrilege incidents.

The party leadership has turned its entire focus on making the event a mega success and make their presence felt among the Panthic sections, its core constituents.

Sukhbir took to Twitter to make the announcement, “I am gladdened and gratified at President of India Sh Ram Nath Kovind Ji’s acceptance of our invitation for celebrations of the 550thParkashPurab at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12. I express my gratitude to him for respecting the Sikh ideals and ethos (sic).”

The invitation was extended to the President in the backdrop of an ongoing tiff between the SGPC and the Punjab government, as the two are locked in a standoff over organising separate functions, with both inviting each other to their function.

In July, the gurdwara body had extended invitation to PM Modi, which he accepted.

On Tuesday, cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa held a meeting with SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal and others over a joint function, with both sides calling the development positive. Now, Longowal is expected to meet Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on the issue.

Longowal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

First Published: Sep 21, 2019 01:54 IST

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