The Students’ Organisation of India (SOI), the students’ wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ‘encroached’ the parking lane in front of Hotel Hyatt Regency in Ludhiana where Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal reached Friday for overnight stay ahead of the SAD’s Sadbhawna rally in Moga. Several parts of Ludhiana city witnessed major traffic snarls.
Interestingly, the alleged encroachment happened right opposite the building of Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA).
During the Sadbhawna rally in Moga on Saturday, Sukhbir Badal also boasted about his ‘longest’ convoy till date and said, “Even now, 700-800 vehicles are stranded on the roads struggling to enter the rally venue. This reflects the support of the people for Akali Dal.”
“I am delighted to see such enthusiasm from the Youth Akali Dal and SOI for the Moga rally. I have to accept that the crowds here have surpassed the numbers of Bathinda rally and today, it has been historic. I am speaking in front of you here and even now, more than 700-800 vehicles are still stranded on the roads. They are struggling to enter the rally venue because the crowd is massive. SOI tey YAD ne toofan leyata hai (SOI and YAD have created history),” said Badal, claiming that his convoy of thousands of supporters that followed him Saturday from Ludhiana was the “longest” ever.
Some SOI members set up a stall encroaching the parking area meant for the public and with orange-coloured party flags in hands, Akali Dal supporters posed for photographs and raised slogans hailing Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Thousands of vehicles across NH1 till Moga choked the highway leading to traffic snarls in and around Ludhiana city.
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which conducts anti-encroachment drives daily on Ferozepur Road did not take any action against the SOI ‘encroachment.’ The tehbazaari wing of MC picks up carts and vends of small vendors from the same spot where SOI installed its stall Saturday.
When contacted, additional commissioner MC Rishipal Singh said, “I am not aware of SOI encroachment in parking area.” Asked if SOI had taken permission to set up the stall, he said, “I will look into it.”
SOI zonal president Meetpal Singh Dugri said, “The students were really enthusiastic today for being a part of the convoy of the deputy CM. They reached Ludhiana in large numbers with their vehicles but I am unaware of any encroachment done in parking area on Ferozepur Road.”