Punjab’s Amarinder Singh government Tuesday bristled at Shiromani Akali Dal’s move to invite the PM for the grand function being planned at the Sultanpur Lodhi gurdwara on November 12 to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
While the state government has been preparing to organise the event, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal led a delegation of SGPC and DSGMC members to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inviting him.
The delegation, apart from Sukhbir, comprised of SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa, among others. A SAD statement after the meeting said the PM has agreed to attend the function.
Recently, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had appealed to all political parties to be united in the name of the Guru Nanak Dev. But the development points to the fact that the Congress government and SAD have not been able to reach a consensus on the issue.
The development has not gone down well with the state government as it is being felt that if PM attends the function, it would become a SAD-BJP function. On the other hand, the state government has been preparing for the function for the last many months.
Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who was a part of the three-minister delegation to Akal Takhat Jathedar, Giani Harpreet Singh last week with a message that the function should be organised unitedly, said, “It appears they want to play politics over the issue. It is clear that the SGPC is not for the Sikhs but for the Badals. We will see how we have to organise the function. If Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government can organise 351st birth anniversary function of Guru Gobind Singh, why cannot the state government organise 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev?”
Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson said there was no politics being played on the issue, “The SGPC has control of gurdwaras. It is SGPC’s prerogative to organise a religious function. It is not a political function. It was the SGPC that extended the invite to the Prime Minister and not SAD. Sukhbir ji had led a delegation of religious bodies to the PM.”
On whether it was a fight for the control of the stage, Dr Cheema said, “There is no such issue. The Prime Minister will be there at the stage, the Chief Minister could also be there with all other dignitaries.”
Randhawa said the state government wanted to take everybody along, “The Chief Minister will be meeting the Akal Takht Jathedar on the issue. We are not like Badals who summon the Jathedar. Our CM will himself go and meet him. I have to brief the CM about my meeting with the Jathedar in a day or two. Then he will take a call on the meeting. Our delegation already told the Jathedar that CM will himself visit him,” said Randhawa.
Amid the credit war, it remains to be seen whether the SAD and the Congress government would have a consensus on having a single function on the occasion or would end up organising two functions.