Sounding the poll bugle for the upcoming Parliamentary and Vidhan Sabha polls in Haryana, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during a rally in Pipli, Kurukshetra, Sunday announced to contest the polls on its own in Haryana. Buoyed by the gathering in the maiden party rally in Haryana, SAD president Sukhbir Badal promised slew of freebies and weaker sections on the lines of ones doled out in Punjab during its rule, if people of Haryana voted SAD to power.
During the rally, a group of men staged a protest by waving black flags and raising slogans during Sukhbir’s speech. SAD activists and supporters thrashed the protestors, who were whisked away by the police. A police officer in Kurukshetra said the protestors belonged to Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), a party which is led by Simranjit Singh Mann. “Preventive action was taken against the protestors,” the police officer said.
Sukhbir termed the protest by “handful of men” as an act of frustration to the “successful rally” by SAD. He said the party was undettered by such protests. “Main rukh hawa da badal sakdaan. tuhaade karke nangi talwaaran te chal sakdaan. Jekar mere sir te hath hove tuhaada, main Haryane di tasveer badal sakdaan (I can change the direction of winds. I can walk on naked sword. If you bless me, I can change the picture of Haryana),” Sukhbir told the gathering, promising free power to farmers, free of cost tubewell connections, 400 units of free power to dalit communities and slew of other things if SAD was voted to power. “We will contest, contest and contest. And we will win, win and win,” Sukhbir added.
Referring to his land in Balasar, Sukhbir said his father Parkash Singh Badal had been, of late, spending lot of time in Sirsa. “We know your problems. SAD is a party of the villagers, of farmers and traders,” he said. While he promised freebies to the farming community including free piped irrigation water to all fields in Haryana if SAD was voted to power, SAD president did not touch the controversial issue of Sutlej Yamuna Link canal in his speech. In Punjab, SAD has been very vociferous on the issue, maintaining categorically that Punjab did not have even a single drop of water to share with Haryana.
Sukhbir attacked the Congress and Gandhi family for “attacking” Sikh place of worship and for “genocide” of Sikh community members. Referring to memorials dedicated to different religions in Punjab and pilgrimage scheme by previous SAD government, Sukhbir showered heaps of praises on his father and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and stressed that SAD respected all religions equally.