Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and SAD (Amritsar) are busy making arrangements for their conferences at Maghi Mela to be held at Muktsar on January 14, even as ruling Congress and Opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have no such plans.
Ahead of last month’s Shaheedi Jor Mela, organised to remember the martyrdom of “char sahibjade” (four sons) of Guru Gobind Singh at Fatehgarh Sahib, Akal Takht had directed all the political parties not to organise conferences at fairs held to commemorate “great sacrifices”.
Maghi Mela is organised to remember the sacrifice of 40 Sikh martyrs (Chalis Mukte) who had died fighting the Mughal army in 1705. The place where they died was named Muktsar. Though no political meeting had been organised at Fatehgarh Sahib, SAD is in full gear to arrange one in their stronghold, Muktsar.
Muktsar MLA Rozy Barkandi of SAD, who is taking care of the arrangements, said, “We do abide by the orders of the Akal Takht. They were for Jor Mela. At Maghi Mela, we will organise a conference. Congress is running out as they have no issue and back-tracked on all their promises. AAP is fighting for survival. Moreover Muktsar is home district of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.”
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Sunil Jakhar confirmed Congress will not organise any meeting at Maghi Mela, abiding by the Akal Takht orders as “we will be remembering the sacrifice of Chalis Mukte”. Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, also said, “Abiding by Akal Takht’s directions, we are not organising any meeting at the Mela. We did not organise it even at Jor Mela.”
The SAD will organise its political conference on SGPC ground in the town where they had been organising it in the past, however, in 2016, they had changed the venue expecting a larger crowd ahead of the Vidhan Sabha polls. But, half the pandal lay vacant. This year, they are expecting a gathering of over 40,000 persons.
Unlike previous years when SAD supporters from the whole of Malwa used to come to the conference, this time they are coming from only the rural seats of Ferozepur and Fazilka. “Former CM Parkash Singh Badal and former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal will be the main speakers,” said the local MLA.
As all the political parties are not organising conferences this year, police deployment has been reduced to half in Muktsar, though it is expected that lakhs of people will visit the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to take holy dip in its sarovar.