Rejecting charges that Congress was supporting radical and anti-national forces, party’s Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh on Saturday claimed that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal was trying to shift the blame for his own failures on Congress.
“We in Congress do not need any lessons on patriotism and nationalism from someone like Sukhbir Badal, whose father and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal still takes pride in having burnt the copies of the Constitution of India during Khalistan movement,” he alleged.
Referring to the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, the religious congregation of the Sikhs held at Amritsar recently, Amarinder said, the presence of huge number of people there was an expression of “anger” against the Badal government and not to support Khalistan as being projected by Sukhbir Badal and Khalistan protagonist Simranjit Singh Mann together.
On Sukhbir’s claims that he had proof as to how anti-national resolutions at the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ were prepared and passed, what was he doing as the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of the state.
“Does his responsibility finish at blaming the Congress,” he asked, adding, he should better own the moral responsibility and resign.
Amarinder claimed Sukhbir is only betraying his frustration and “congenital obsession” of blaming Congress for their own wrongs.
“It is natural for Sukhbir and his father to feel frustrated that when Rahul Gandhi is hailed and welcomed with open arms across Punjab while going on padyatra, the Badals cannot even dare to venture out lest people thrash them like their ministers,” he alleged in a statement here.
The former Punjab Chief Minister said, the Akalis including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal were “unnerved” over Congress’ popularity in the state and had now launched a “malicious and slanderous” campaign against the party and its leaders.
He claimed that there are reports of Akali leaders, ministers and legislators being thrashed by people out of anger, saying, “their (Badals’) frustration is natural”.
Only yesterday, he claimed, minister Sikander Singh Malukha was “slapped” by an elderly angry farmer in his home town.
The senior Congress leader pointed out, only a week ago Sukhbir said that the “ISI was behind all the trouble” in Punjab. “Now all of a sudden he has woken up to revelations that Congress was behind all this,” he said, taunting the deputy chief minister, while making it categorically clear that Congress is a secular and nationalist party which has laid down several sacrifices to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country and will never hesitate in doing it again if the need be.
“Despite the fact that both Badal and Mann are trying to project the huge turnout of people at ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ as pro-Khalistan, it was actually an expression of anger and outrage against Badal government and that is the reason Sukhbir is peeved and frustrated the most and is trying to blame the Congress,” he claimed.
Referring to presence of Congress leaders at the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, Amarinder said, it was a religious and not a political or anti-national congregation, as Sukhbir and Simranjit Singh Mann will try to make it out. So there was nothing wrong in anyone attending it as a Sikh, he said, as not only Congress leaders, leaders of other political parties were there as well.
Amarinder said, the very fact that Mann was not allowed to speak at the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, which Sukhbir claims to be an “anti-national show”, makes it clear beyond any doubt as what people wanted there.
“Had it really been a pro-Khalistan congregation and not an anti-Badal show, why should a Khalistan proponent like Mann not be allowed to speak there,” he asked.
The Congress leader alleged, the matter of the fact is that it was during the Badal’s government between 1977 and 1979 “that Punjab was pushed into turmoil and terrorism and now it is again under Badal’s government that Punjab is being threatened by the same forces.”
“Even then they used to blame Congress as they are trying to blame it on us again,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines