Updated: June 20, 2015 12:12:29 am
The chief guest at the function held to mark the 350th founding anniversary of the holy Sikh city Anandpur Sahib on Friday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh heaped praises on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its leadership only to bring in the extremely touchy issue of drugs abuse in the state at the end of his speech, catching the Akalis by surprise.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and BJP president Amit Shah had already made their speeches and Rajnath Singh was the last to speak.
After complimenting and highlighting the courage and resolve of the Sikh community, as well as the ties that bind both parties — the BJP and the SAD — Rajnath referred to the issue of drugs abuse in the state. The Union Home Minister asked all those who had gathered to take a pledge to stay away from drugs. Speaking about the drugs problem in the state and “other states nearby”, Rajnath said staying away from drugs will be the real mark of respect to the Gurus, even as the entire high command of SAD watched on.
Rajnath said the state government led by Badal was doing a lot to tackle the problem of drugs and was doing its best, yet everyone has to pitch in and the problem could be overcome.
Earlier, Rajnath had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was perturbed as he could not attend the event and the PM sent his best wishes to the CM.
“We are sons of the same mother. However there are powers which are trying to divide us,” said Rajnath even as he asked the CM not to take cognisance of allegations that the state government was holding such events due to a communal agenda.
In his speech, BJP president Amit Shah thanked the CM for having invited him to the event. “I want to say that Anandpur Sahib is owed a debt by the country. The Khalsa Panth followers have played a major role in shaping the nation. Anandpur Sahib is a place of knowledge. The tradition of sacrifice began here and I am leaving this place enthused with energy,” he said.
The CM’s speech had references to the history of Anandpur Sahib and the sacrifices made by the Sikhs. He touched upon the absence of the PM from the function and clarified that it was due to some pre-occupation that the PM did not attend the event and not because of any other reason.
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