Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday inaugurated the Heritage Street running from Town Hall building to the Golden Temple Plaza in the presence of Akal Takht Jathedar Gaini Gurbachan Singh and representatives of Sant Samaj including Damdami Taksal head Harnam Singh Dhumma.
Though the previous day, Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had declined to take credit for the project calling it volunteer service, the religious leadership of Sikh community on Tuesday showered praise on the Badal family and even gave direct and indirect calls to the Sikhs to vote for them.
A separate stage was set for around 20 different ‘sants’ and religious preachers for the inauguration ceremony.
Akal Takht Jathedar Gaini Gurbachan Singh was sitting on main stage with political leadership of SAD and BJP. Giving his concluding speech at the inauguration function, he termed Sukhbir Singh Badal as ‘Naujwana de dilan di dhadkan’ (heartbeat of youth). Jathedar said, “God has blessed the Badal family. I observed that every Sikh here was praising this project and was saying thanks to Badals.” Most of the chairs had turned empty as soon as Jathedar started his speech, forcing him to conclude in two minutes.
Damdami Taksal head, Harnam Singh Dhuma, however, was clearer about the political message during his speech. “I am thankful to the Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia for their service and I have no words to express my feelings about Heritage street project.”
He said, “Dera Khalsa ji, the time has come. The whole Sikh community should be united and support Shiromani Akali Dal. We have to take more such services from them. We should not be become thankless. We should show regard for their efforts to build several memorials to remember our martyrs and gurus.”
“Let us all come together by forgetting our differences and defeat those powers who have been dreaming to rule Punjab by hurting Sikh sentiments and designing conspiracies,” said Dhuma.
It was first time that Dhuma was sharing stage with SAD after attack on Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadarianwale allegedly by men of Damdami Taksal earlier this year.
Union minister and state BJP president Vijay Sampla also spoke at the function.
However, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar skipped the function. His counterpart Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Parbhnadak Committee president Manjit Singh G K addressed the gathering.
Addressing the public gathering at the entrance plaza of Sri Darbar Sahib, the CM said, “It goes to the credit of SAD-BJP government, which undertook the momentous task to preserve the glorious cultural heritage of Punjab through state-of-the-art memorials and monuments viz. Virasat-E-Khalsa, Chotta and Wada Ghallughara, Baba Banda Singh War Memorial, State War Heroes Memorial & Museum. Apart from these, Jang-E-Azadi Memorial, Baba Jeevan Singh (Bhai Jaita Ji), Guru Ravidass Ji Memorial and Bhagwan Valmiki Sthal would soon be dedicated to the mankind in the coming days.”
The Deputy CM said, “The heritage street project was completed in a record time. This is not the end of the project. It is just a beginning of the total beautification and transformation which the holy city would witness during the course of next five years.”