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SAD to contest all Lok Sabha, assembly seats in Haryana: Sukhbir Badal

SAD president said, “We have promised and delivered in Punjab. Now, we are ready to take up the responsibility of working for the welfare of the people of Haryana.”

india Updated: Aug 20, 2018 09:04 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Kurukshetra
SAD,Haryana,Sukhbir
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal addressing the party’s first major rally at the grain market in Pipli town on Sunday.(HT Photo)

Looking for political expansion in Haryana, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal on Sunday announced to contest all 10 Lok Sabha and 90 assembly seats in the state in 2019 elections.

Addressing SAD’s first political rally in Haryana at Pipli grain market, Sukhbir made an appeal for ‘unity’ among Sikhs and Punjabis of Haryana to get their “political share”.

Earlier, the SAD used to contest a couple of assembly seats in the state in alliance with its longtime partner Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), but the party had parted ways with the INLD some months ago.

“Despite having a big strength, the Sikhs haven’t got their share in Haryana politics, because they are not united and politicians took advantage of their disunity. The same has happened with the Muslims,” he said.

“No one can stop you from acquiring power in Haryana if you get united under the flag of SAD,” he added.

He also condemned the attack on a Sikh family in Hisar by some local youths and said, “We can stop all this only by wresting political power in the state.”

Sukhbir announced to provide free electricity to the agriculture sector, 400 units of free power per month to Dalits and free piped irrigation water to all fields, if SAD is voted to power.

Congress on target

In his 30-minute speech in Punjabi, the former Punjab deputy chief minister targeted the Congress by terming it anti-Sikh and SAD’s biggest political enemy.

“The Congress and the Gandhi family had always targeted the Sikhs. The incidents like 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Operation Bluestar are enough to prove that Congress is the anti-Sikh party,” he added.

Sukhbir did not speak any word against the BJP government in Haryana as the saffron party is an ally of SAD in Punjab.

He, however, said Haryana is lagging far behind Punjab in terms of infrastructure, especially roads.

Sukhbir skips syl, HSGPC issues

The SAD president did not speak over the issues of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and the demand for a separate Sikh body to manage gurdwaras in Haryana. Some Sikh leaders in the state, led by Jagdish Singh Jhinda, had formed Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Committee (ad hoc).

Others who addressed the rally included SAD state president Sharanjit Singh Sohta, party’s Haryana in-charge Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur and NK Sharma. Several buses and cars having Punjab registration numbers could be seen at the venue.

Faces black flags

Meanwhile, a group of protesters, who allegedly belonged to Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), waved black flags at Sukhbir during his speech and chanted anti-SAD slogans. However, they were overpowered by the party workers and police.

Sukhbir said that they were agitated over the massive gathering in the rally and “could not digest the Akali Dal strength in Haryana.

HGSMC president Jagdish Jhinda denied the protesters belonged to his organisation.

The police said that one of the protesters Gurjeet Singh of Nissing was detained and investigation was on.

Food and water for all

The rally was well managed and the organisers provided food and water to every visitor. A huge rush of people having food could be seen at the main entrance. Water bottle and SAD flags were kept at every chair for the audience.

First Published: Aug 19, 2018 21:53 IST