On International Yoga Day on Tuesday where Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the event in Chandigarh, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ensured that it strikes a ‘balance pose’ — its select leadership ceremonially participating in the event and majority of leadership and workers across state distancing themselves from the event to send a message that SAD was all for distinct panthic identity.
While octogenarian Parkash Singh Badal, the chief minister of Punjab, marked his presence in the event at Chandigarh, his daughter-in-law and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal participated in the event at Bathinda, the constituency she represents as Member of Parliament.
Majority of the rest of the Akali leadership, including bigwigs deputy chief minister Sukhbir and Bikram Singh Majithia, abstained from attending any function relating to International Yoga Day.
A person on duty with Sukhbir said he was in Chandigarh until afternoon before leaving for Delhi where he might meet Modi Wednesday.
In Amritsar, BJP leadership including cabinet minister Anil Joshi and Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora were among those who attended the yoga event.
In Bathinda, a participant said that only a few Akali activists participated in the event attended by Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Notably, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, one of the organisers of last year’s “Sarbat Khalsa”, had given a call to oppose the International Yoga Day and had made an appeal that Sikhs should instead practice gatka.
Activists of SAD (Amritsar) did play gatka on Tuesday to mark the day.
Dal Khalsa also opposed the event calling it “a private affair” ridiculing government for “making it a government sponsored mega function”.
“It’s ironic that the present day government was imposing it on all citizens,” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said in a statement on Monday, adding that the “RSS-backed government in New Delhi was spreading its tentacles in all spheres be it educational or cultural.”.
The “chief” of Takhts named in “Sarbat Khalsa” had recently also issued a “gurmata” asking Sikhs to participate in kabaddi, gatka, horse riding and meditation instead of doing Yoga.