Cong leader in viral video: ‘I will distribute swords for panchayat polls... Hack the rivals!’
The Congress leader said, he said nothing provocative and had given the statements “only to boost the morale of party workers, who are suppressed due to atrocities committed on them by the SAD-BJP during their tenure”.punjab Updated: Jan 10, 2018 17:00 IST
In what he later termed a mere “morale booster”, Congress leader Harinderpal Singh, alias Harry Mann, was caught on video on Monday as he told party workers: “Don’t let opposition parties use force; and don’t be suppressed by them... Hack them and come to me! I will ensure you that no one touches you.”
He was referring the panchayat elections due in July while speaking at a public meeting in Devigarh in Sanaur segment, from where he lost the assembly contest last year. The meeting was held by his supporters to celebrate his nomination to the syndicate of Punjabi University. The video went viral on Tuesday over WhatsApp and other social media channels.
A former state information commissioner, Mann referred to the swords with an honorific used in the Sikh religion — ‘Sri Sahib’ — and promised: “I will distribute not one but 10 swords in each village in my constituency to Congress workers who will be at polling booths and those who will contest.” Supporters can be seen cheering.
When contacted, Mann said he said nothing provocative and had given the statements “only to boost the morale of party workers, who are suppressed due to atrocities committed on them by the SAD-BJP during their tenure”.
“I only meant to say that Congress workers should defend themselves in panchayat elections against the SAD, which has a reputation of winning elections by force. I mistakenly told workers to severe heads of workers of opposition parties,” he added.
Former CM demands FIR
Reacting to the video, former chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, who was in Rakhra village to meet SAD workers on Tuesday, demanded an FIR against him. “How can a leader who contested the assembly elections use such language? A criminal case must be registered against him for giving such an irresponsible statement.” He added that such statements “speak volumes about the high-headedness of Congress leaders”.