Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Wednesday hit back at Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh for his statement that creation of Punjab Suba was the “second partition” for Punjabis which eventually laid the foundation to a continuous decline of the state.
“Captain Amarinder Singh should clearly understand that foundation of continuous decline was laid by none other than the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,” said Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Manjinder Singh Sirsa in a joint statement in Chandigarh Wednesday.
“If this was the perception of Congress that creation of a new state would lead to a truncated Punjab, why didn’t a single Congress leader stand up to Gandhi to oppose it,” they said.
“Show us a single statement from Punjab Congress that opposed Indira Gandhi on this account,” they asked.
“If anybody is to be blamed for Punjab’s deprivation, it is precisely Gandhi who systematically deferred the transfer of Punjabi-speaking areas including Chandigarh to Punjab under a larger conspiracy,” they said, adding that she alone is responsible for the “legacy of festering disputes” between the two states as she remained the most important decision-maker for over 11 years after trifurcation of the state.
The Akali leaders also added that 1947 and 1966 cannot be compared. “The transition and creation of Punjab in 1966 was bloodless while 1947 was horrendous. Moreover, Amarinder Singh needs no visa to visit Haryana or his properties in Himachal. Like other states, Punjab is another state carved out of linguistic majority and if it has been discriminated against, Indira Gandhi and Congress is to be blamed for it,” they said.