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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019| Dera behind sacrilege, Congress to keep it at arm’s length: Jakhar

Dares Sukhbir to clear his party’s stand on sect’s support in polls, says Akalis can to go to any length to garner votes

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 16, 2019 11:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
PPCC president Sunil Jakhar addressing the media at Jalandhar
PPCC president Sunil Jakhar addressing the media at Jalandhar(Pradeep Pandit/ HT)

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Friday said their party will keep the Dera Sacha Sauda at a distance during the Lok Sabha elections and not seek any support from the sect as it is responsible for the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015.

Addressing a press conference in Jalandhar, Jakhar said, “The Congress is a secular party and there is no question of getting close to the Sirsa-based dera for electoral gains. I challenge Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to clear his stand on the dera’s support in the parliamentary polls.”

The state Congress chief said the recent remark of SAD’s Khadoor Sahib candidate Bibi Jagir Kaur that only Sukhbir can clear their party’s stand on taking the dera’s support clearly reflects that the Akali Dal is keeping all options open to get the votes.

Jagir Kaur had said though she won’t take support from the dera, adding that it was Sukhbir who could clear their party’s position on the issue.

“The statement from a person like Bibi Jagir, a SAD core committee member and two-time Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president, is shocking. She is not an ordinary party member. It reflects the shocking mindset of the Akali Dal and its leaders. Sentiments of Sikhs are more important than dera votes,” he said.

“The Akali Dal has become a business party. They can even hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community for votes,” Jakhar said.

Alleging involvement of the Badals in sacrilege incidents, Jakhar said all accused cops arrested in these cases hired just one high court lawyer, Sant Pal Singh Sidhu, and he suspected that the Akali Dal is paying their litigation fees so that they can shield the Badals.

“Sukhbir is questioning the credibility of an honest officer like Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. But it is his own credibility which is in question,” he said.

On the first Indo-Pakistan meeting on the Kartarpur corridor, he said it is good for Punjab as peace is being restored between the two countries.

Responding to a query that the accused cops in sacrilege cases are getting bail easily, Jakhar said there could be shortcomings in handling of the matter by the legal cell and it would be addressed.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 11:04 IST

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