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Lok Sabha polls 2019: Nehru, Jinnah, Congress, Captain… SAD bashes them all in 16-page booklet

The 16-page booklet in Gurmukhi, titled “Gutka Sahib di sohun chukan wali Congress sarkaar da haal Punjab behaal”, which also reads on its cover “Shiromani Akali Dal - Bhajpa liyao” is being distributed in the party rallies being addressed by SAD president Sukhbir Badal beginning April 1.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
April 5, 2019 9:49:47 am
Lok Sabha polls 2019: Nehru, Jinnah, Congress, Captain... SAD bashes them all in 16-page booklet SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal during an election rally in Attari. (Express photo by Rana Simranjit Singh)

* Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mohammad Ali (Jinnah)’s hunger for political rule divided country into parts and tore Punjab from middle. Punjab suffered maximum loss. Nearly 88 lakh people were left homeless, nearly 10 lakh were killed and thousands of women and children went missing.

* The Narendra Modi government in significant decisions for Punjab and Sikhs corrected the Congress government’s mistake during partition by opening “Sri Kartarpur Sahib Langha (Corridor). The prayers of Sikh community got fulfilled….The murderers of 1984 started getting punishments and after 34 years, there was balm on the wounds of entire Sikh community.

* Shiromani Akali Dal made a humble effort to preserve the rich heritage by constructing memorials…including “eighth wonder Virasat-e-Khalsa (The name was recorded in Limca Book).

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This and much more.

The tirade against the Congress and patting self and ally BJP on back features abundantly in a booklet issued by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the run up to May 19 Lok Sabha elections in the Punjab to compare its 10-year rule in state with the incumbent Congress government – and to highlight the “significant decisions of Narendra Modi government for Punjab and Sikhs”.

A party leader said that the draft of the booklet had been finalised and booklet went for printing before the Balakot strike, otherwise that too would have found a mention in the booklet.

The 16-page booklet in Gurmukhi, titled “Gutka Sahib di sohun chukan wali Congress sarkaar da haal Punjab behaal”, which also reads on its cover “Shiromani Akali Dal – Bhajpa liyao” is being distributed in the party rallies being addressed by SAD president Sukhbir Badal beginning April 1.

On Thursday, after addressing a party rally in Attari assembly segment of Amritsar parliamentary constituency, Sukhbir waved a copy of the booklet and urged the gathering to read it.

Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: United in loss and to make their voice heard, victims of chit fund schemes to contest 50 seats, six in Punjab

The booklet attacks Congress and incumbent Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on a slew of issues – “new taxes by the incumbent government”, “farmers’ issues and promises made by him in 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections”, “sand and gravel mining”, “corruption during Congress rule”, “non-fulfillment of job for every household promise”, “liquor mafia” and on the issue of “1984 genocide”.

Sample this section in thebooklet: “Main names which come up in 1984 genocide”

* In a speech on November 19, 1984, Rajiv Gandhi said after the assassination of Indira ji, it appeared as if earth was shaking. “Magar jab bhi koyee bara perh girta hai to dharti hilti hai (When a big tree falls, earth shakes).

* Jagdish Tytler, who thrice became MP and was also a minister in the Congress government.

* HKL Bhagat who continued to occupy the berth as Union cabinet minister.

* Sajjan Kumar, who thrice became MP on Congress ticket and who is now undergoing imprisonment till death

* Kamal Nath who was earlier made union cabinet minister by the Congress and has now been made Madhya Pradesh chief minister.

“All these were given big posts as reward to ensure that they do not open their mouths against Gandhi family because it was on the direction of then

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that the genocide was carried out with police protection,” says the booklet. It pointed out that no action was taken by successive Prime Ministers in 1984 cases until “1998 to October 10, 1999 [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee ji’s government when Nanavati Commission was formed and which first issued direction to register FIR”. The booklet says after Modi became the Prime Minister, on the demand of SAD, a new special investigation team (SIT) was formed in 2015, due to which “majority of the closed cases were reopened and punishments started to be awarded”.

The booklet lists 25 “significant decisions” of Modi government for Punjab and Sikhs, including “increase in minimum support price of crops implemented as per Swaminathan Committee formula, which paved the way for assured one and half times return over the input cost.”

Read | Bhupinder Singh Hooda: ‘Graft Cases due to political vendetta… don’t give a damn about such tactics’

The booklet also says that “80 per cent of the sacrifices for nation’s freedom was by Sikhs and Punjabis, but the British called them community of criminals. On the same lines, Congress has been defaming Punjab and Sikhs by sometimes calling them “terrorists”, “separatists”, and “addicts”.

It dedicates a chapter on projects/schemes “closed” by Amarinder Singh, mentioning 32 such projects, schemes or initiatives and underlining that only a couple of those were marginally on. The “closed” one included “Paani wali bus” (the amphibious bus), the pet project of Sukhbir for which he was widely trolled on social media, World Kabaddi Cup, pilgrimage scheme, Bathinda and Ropar thermal plants. The partially working scheme included Atta, Dal scheme (50 per cent closed) with no tea and ghee as promised.

It also talks about sand mining and names a senior Congress leader saying he had to resign as cabinet minister.

“In the last year of SAD rule, (a revenue of) Rs 102 crore from sand and gravel (quarries’ auctions) were deposited in the state exchequer. In Congress rule of two years, merely nearly Rs 98 crore have been deposited. Rates of sand and gravel have increased by three times,” says the booklet.

The farm issues raised in the booklet include “against a promise of Rs 90,000 crore farmers and farm labourers loan waiver, loans of only two per cent farmers waived off and there is no talk of waiving off loans of labourers; kurkis have been carried out on banks’ notices; 800 farmers have committed suicide, not all loan of such families waived off nor jobs given as was promised”.

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