Describing the Congress as anti-national, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday called for the derecognition of the party.
Speaking at a press meet, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal charged Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with trying to encourage secessionist forces in the state. He also claimed that Congress leaders in the state were involved in the November 10 convention of separatist elements, called Sarbat Khalsa, in Chabba village near Amritsar.
Badal later led a delegation of Akali leaders to President Pranab Mukherjee to draw his attention to the alleged Congress efforts to destabilise peace and communal harmony in Punjab by extending support to extremist elements.
The SAD, in a statement, said that a party memorandum to the President had called for steps to check the Congress from stoking communal sentiments and using anti-national forces to disturb peace in the state. Badal was accompanied by party MPs Naresh Gujral, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Sher Singh Ghubaya, besides DSGMC president Manjit Singh G K and Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
The move comes two days after Rahul, accompanied by some Congress leaders, met the President to demand a judicial inquiry into the Faridkot incident, in which two persons were killed during protests against alleged desecration of the Sikh holy book.
Badal alleged that several Congress leaders had shared the stage with separatist elements. He said these included Ramanjit Singh Sikki, known for his proximity to Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh, and Inderjit Singh Zira. Badal also claimed to be in possession of evidence which purportedly shows Congress leaders guiding separatist leaders on the proceedings at the convention, including formulation of resolutions.
He also alleged that Congress leaders had provided logistical support to the organisers of the convention, which named Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted for the assassination of Beant Singh, as the high priest of the Akal Takht. The gathering, Badal alleged, had demanded a Khalistan.
The Congress “plot”, the SAD chief said, was reminiscent of its behaviour in the 1980s, when it allegedly propped up separatist elements to weaken the Akalis. He said: “Why doesn’t the Congress high command take action against party leaders who had participated in the Sarbat Khalsa if they did not have its go-ahead?”
Asked whether the state government had taken action against people who raised secessionist demands, Badal said 25 people had been booked on this count.