CHANDIGARH, September 18: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh condemned the brutal use of force and the reign of terror let loose by the ruling Akali Dal against their opponents during the SGPC elections across the state today, saying by resorting to such desperate tactics the ruling party had virtually admitted to the defeat.
Blaming the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Deputy Chief Minister son Sukhbir Badal for the violence, he asked them to tender an unconditional apology to the Sikh community for committing the sacrilege of blemishing the image and sanctity of a scared institution like SGPC.In a statement issued here today after the reports of widespread violence, booth capturing and intimidation of opponents by the ruling Akali workers and leaders, Capt Amarinder said, the reign of terror let loose by the Akalis reminded of the violence they indulged in during the panchayat and other local bodies elections four years ago. “They were so desperate to have results in their favour that they prevented from voting as many opponents as they could and in the process at several places it led to violence also as not all the people succumbed to their intimidation”, he said.
The PCC President said, today’s violence during the SGPC elections was a blot on the face of Akali Dal and its leadership particularly the Chief Minister and his Deputy Chief Minister son as they had tried to undermine and blemish the sacred sanctity the institution is held by the people in general and the Sikhs in particular. “Today they have committed a cardinal sin and for this they owe an unconditional apology to the people”, he remarked while adding, “even if the Akalis win these elections, the victory will be devoid of any credibility and stained with the blood that was shed in the violence unleashed by Akalis led by Badals”.
The former Chief Minister asked, if the Akalis, were so confident about victory in these elections why did they resort to violence and intimidation of the voters. “They created such a hype about these elections that at the end of the day they started feeling scared and insecure and thus used and abused all the resources available to them including the government machinery, particularly the Punjab Police, they are controlling”, he pointed out, while adding even in a 100 per cent sensitive constituency like Dhariwal they did not allow the neutral central security forces to be deployed as that would not have allowed them to intimidate people and capture booths.
Capt Amarinder said, as a devout Sikh, he had seen several SGPC elections, but it was for the first time that violence took place. “That was because these elections were never made a prestige issue like ‘semi final’ to any other election as these were made this time by the Badals”, he pointed out, while adding, “the Sikh community world over will never forgive the father-son duo for bringing disrepute to these elections and to the institution”.
“Watching the images of violence and booth capturing during the SGPC elections, for a while it felt as if we were living in some part of Bihar lorded over by some criminal gang and not in Punjab”, he said, while regretting, “the elections which were always fought in a cordial, congenial and harmonious atmosphere so far have now been turned into blood feud thanks to the unbridled ambition of the Badals to grab everything, including the SGPC for their political survival”.