Patiala, Oct 7 (PTI) Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal Sunday launched a sharp attack on Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, accusing him of conspiring to take control of Sikh institutions, including the SGPC, and said ‘Sikh Sangat’ would not allow the Congress to succeed in its “nefarious designs”.

Badal likened Amarinder Singh to “dictator and Hitler” and claimed the chief minster wanted to create a “stumbling block” to stop people from reaching the rally he was addressing in Patiala.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was “facing heat” from a section within the party over his style of running the SAD, said the Akali Dal was not a “property” of the Badal family and somebody else could represent it after a few years.

“Amarinder’s next move is to take control of the Gurdwara and other institutions. His elders had also tried to do so in the past. Sikh Sangat will not tolerate that the control of gurdwaras goes into the hands of representatives of Congress,” Parkash Singh Badal said, addressing the rally in Patiala, the home constituency of Amarinder Singh.

“This party wants to take control over the gurdwaras,” he claimed.

“Like Britishers had given control of gurdwaras to ‘mahants’, he (Amarinder) wants to hand over the control to ‘mahants’ of Congress. It is a conspiracy to wipe out our religious culture,” he alleged.

The five-time chief minister of Punjab urged people to not allow the Congress succeed in its “nefarious designs”.

Amarinder Singh yesterday said in Delhi that “his government did not want to control the SGPC but wanted the Badals out of it as they had made the religious body their fiefdom.” Seeing a large gathering of Akali workers at the rally, Parkash Singh Badal said he had never seen such a large conference in his 70-year-long political career.

“This rally was organised against the repression and injustice unleashed by the Congress-led regime,” he said.

Asserting that the Akali Dal had always fought and given sacrifices against any kind of repression, he said it was the Congress government which had enforced maximum suppression, more than what was experienced during the rule of Britishers and Mughals.

He also lashed out at the Congress for Operation Bluestar in 1984 and hit out at the party for “sending Army and tanks to the Golden Temple”.

“Today they are talking about sacrilege of religious scriptures. When Army had attacked the Golden Temple, the damage was caused to the shrine and Guru Granth Sahib and Akal Takht,” he said.

The former chief minister claimed that Amarinder Singh had to accept the suggestion of his officers not to stop people from participating in the rally or the Akalis could also disrupt Congress’s rallies. “Amarinder, who is a dictator and has now become Hitler, had to accept the suggestion of his officers,” he said.

He also hit out at the Congress regime for having failed to honour its poll promises.

Addressing the gathering, Parkash Singh Badal urged former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar to suggest names of ‘Taksali’ or traditional Akali leaders to honour them.

He also asked Sukhbir Badal to hold two more such rallies at Doaba and Majha region to make people aware about the “failure” of this Congress government.

Earlier, addressing party workers, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal claimed that several forces were trying to weaken the Akali Dal.

“I want to tell (the people) that nobody can weaken Akali Dal. This public (sitting in the rally) is with Akali Dal. It is neither with Sukhbir Singh Badal nor Parkash Singh ji Badal.

“Shiromani Akali Dal is not a property of the Badal family. It is a property of elders and the (Sikh) community. Today I am serving Akali Dal. In next few years, it could be someone else. SAD is a representative of Sikh community,” said Sukhbir.

Sukhbir Badal’s statement assumes significance as some senior and Taksali (traditional) Akali leaders were reportedly unhappy with the way he runs the party.

On the sacrilege issue, he said he was upset with the incidents at Bargari in 2015. “Badal Sahib at that time could not sleep for two days. Those who are involved in this heinous crime are demons,” he said.

He said at least 70 incidents of sacrilege had taken place during one and a half years. “Now no Congressman raises this issue,” he said.

Lashing out at Congress and AAP, Sukhbir Badal accused both the parties of spewing venom against Akali Dal during last elections for their “vested interests”.

He said Amarinder Singh was not “bothered” about the state as 2017 assembly poll was his last election which he had himself declared.

Several leaders, including Prem Singh Chandumajra, BJP Punjab chief Shwait Malik, Parminder Dhindsa, son of Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Tota Singh, Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Sikandar Singh Maluka attended the rally.

However, Taksali leaders Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rattan Singh Ajnala, Sewa Singh Sekhwan did not attend the rally.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.