ON A day the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) held a rally in Faridkot, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced he would take on Akali veteran Parkash Singh Badal on the latter’s home turf in Lambi to “expose the Akali leader’s real face to the people of Punjab and for “misleading the people of the state on the sensitive issue of sacrilege cases.”
A statement on Sunday said the Chief Minister will hold a rally in Lambi, the Assembly constituency of Badal, in the last week of September, after the zila parishad elections in the state. The Chief Minister said in the statement that he would not allow Badal to “vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state at any cost, and would expose his mal-intentions through the rally.”
It said Amarinder had taken serious note of Badal’s continued and willful attempts to create communal unrest in the state through his deceitful statements on the report of Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh on the widespread incidents of sacrilege that had taken place during the SAD-BJP rule. The Chief Minister was quoted as saying that Badal had a habit of raising communal passions by spreading a web of lies and misusing religion every time around the elections, and vowed to expose the Akali leader’s real face to the people of Punjab.
“The former Chief Minister had been trying to spread a disinformation campaign on the issue of Bargarhi and other sacrilege cases, as well as the incidents of police firing on innocent and peaceful protestors in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, since the Commission had come out with its report,” said Amarinder.
“Badal, who had been under fire ever since the report was tabled in the state Assembly, was clearly desperate to divert public attention from his own role in these cases and was known to exploit the religious sentiments of the people to protect his interests.” Said Amarinder.
“Badal has always misused religion to further his political ambitions and agenda’” Amarinder said pointing to the incidents of communal strife that had rocked the state ahead of every election, including the 2017 Assembly polls. “Fortunately, however, the people of Punjab had seen through his attempts to destabilise the state and had voted him and his party decisively out of power, “ he added.
SAD rally in Patiala
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, meanwhile, announced that the party would hold “a massive public rally in CM Amarinder Singh’s home town Patiala on the very day he proposed to hold a Congress rally in Lambi”. Sukhbir said the SAD would expose with proof the Congress “conspiracy” with radical elements to destroy “peace and harmony” of Punjab.