Chandigarh, February 13: The Punjab Congress on Tuesday lambasted the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for its shameless persistence in politicising the auspicious occasion of the 550th Parkash Purab of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, for which their leader Sukhbir Singh Badal paved the way by boycotting the first meeting of the committee set up to discuss the arrangements for the event.
Despite being sent a special invite by the government, which is spearheading the event arrangements, Sukhbir not only failed to turn up for the meeting on Monday but showed no signs of regret thereafter, Congress leaders Sukhjinder Singh, Pargat Singh, Harpratap Singh Ajnala, Tarsem Singh DC, Barinder Singh Pahra and Sukh Sarkaria said in a statement issued here.
The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, had been convened to discuss and work out the detailed programme for one of the most auspicious events taking place in our lifetime, they pointed out, adding that by keeping away from these important deliberations, Sukhbir had demeaned himself in the eyes of the people of Punjab.
The citizens of Punjab, and in fact the world over, venerate the first Sikh Guru, whom they hold above all. However, the Akalis, who claim to be custodians of the Sikh religion, had once again proved that they had no interest in promoting and protecting the religious ideologies of the community, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) leaders.
The fact that Sukhbir did not excuse himself from attending the meeting, nor apologised later for giving it a miss, clearly showed that it was a deliberate act by the Akali leader, who was joined in this irresponsible behaviour by the SGPC president and other opposition leaders, the Congress leaders said.
What had further exposed the ill-intention of the Akalis in the matter was the brazenness with which the party spokesperson had subsequently claimed that Sukhbir did not go for the meeting as SAD received no invitation from the Congress, said the PPCC leaders. “Was it a Congress meeting that it should have sent out invitations?”, they asked, adding that the special invite had gone to the SAD president from the right quarters.
Contrary to what was being projected by SAD, it was not an event involving political parties, said the Congress leaders, adding that the Akalis had once again exposed their petty mindset and their tendency to politicise religion with their ill-conceived reaction.