Several Congress leaders and legislators from border areas in Punjab on Monday lashed out at the ruling SAD-BJP alliance over alleged “forcible evacuation” of the residents from border villages “against their will”. They also hit out at SAD spokesman Daljeet Singh Cheema for criticising Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh over his opposition to evacuation from the border areas, “when there was no need to, since the army continued to remain in peace positions”.
In a joint statement, several senior Congress MLAs, while supporting Capt Amarinder’s stand against border evacuation, asked Cheema to learn his lessons in defence and soldiering before trying to lecture others.
“Capt Amarinder is speaking from his knowledge and experience having participated in war in 1965 in the same areas,” they told Cheema, while asking him to better avoid pontificating Amarinder on the matter of war and soldiering. While reiterating their support for strong measures against Pakistan, including surgical strikes, for instigating and abetting terror activities in India, the MLAs said, there was no need for evacuation of the border residents.
“We are spending most of our time in the border villages only, and people there do not want or feel like moving out,” they said. “There was no evacuation in 1965, 1971, Kargil War or the Operation Parakram and now the BJP and the Akalis are trying to force the evacuations against the will of the people for their petty partisan benefits,” the Congress legislators claimed. The Congress legislators alleged the BJP was trying to raise the war hysteria for Uttar Pradesh elections.
“Badal has rushed in to piggyback them in the misplaced hope that the hype and hysteria may lead to some electoral benefits for him in Punjab also,” they said. “But your bluff has already been called and you stand exposed in public as for what purpose you are forcing poor villagers to leave their home and hearth,” they added.