Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday accused the Badals of playing with religious sentiments of the Sikhs by abusing the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, to promote their vested interests.
“Such politicisation of religion will backfire on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),” the chief minister said while addressing a public rally in Sangrur.
“Anyone who tries to use the Akal Takht is not a Sikh in my eyes,” Amarinder said.
He condemned the “outrageous” attempts of the Badals (Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal) to undermine the supreme power of the Takht.
“The Akalis claim to be the custodians of Sikh religion but have always used it to promote their political interests,” he alleged.
Pointing out that even Maharaja Ranjit Singh had bowed before the Akal Takht and served his punishment before it, Amarinder Sigh said the Badals, on the other hand, had “lowered” the prestige of the Takht “by unabashedly summoning and dictating terms to the Jathedar to promote their political interests”.
By undermining the esteem of the Takht, the Akalis, led by the Badals, had brought “ignominy” to the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, he said, lamenting “Where is Sikhi (Sikhism) going?”
He said it is the time to save the fabric of the Sikh religion from being “torn by such self-seeking people like the Badals”.
While the Congress, as a party, studiously stays away from religious affairs by following the path of non-interference, he would extend support to anyone who frees SGPC from the “Akalis’ shackles”, Amarinder Singh said.
Violation of the religious institutions was not at all acceptable, he said, recalling that he had resigned from both, the Congress and the government, when the Darbar Sahib was “attacked” in 1984.
The chief minister also expressed outrage at the incidents of desecration of religious texts, and the police firing, that rocked the state under the Badal regime.
“Those who perpetrated such shameful acts will not be spared, irrespective of who is responsible,” he said.
Amarinder Singh also hit out at Sukhbir Badal for reportedly threatening government officers.
“How dare he do that? Does he think he is still in power,” Amarinder asked. He said the people of Punjab will “teach” the SAD and the BJP a “well-deserved lesson”.
“The writing is on the wall for these parties,” he said, claiming that BJP’s Amritsar Lok Sabha candidate had never visited the constituency.
It was their choice whom to field but it was obvious they had no support in the state and were unable to find anyone to contest from within, he said.
The BJP has fielded Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri from the Amritsar seat, which goes to polls in the seventh phase on May 19.