LONGOWAL RALLY ALSO DEMANDS RS 1400 AS PADDY MSPLONGOWAL (SANGRUR) AUGUST 20: The Shiromani Akali Dal today got a major shot in the arm as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) committed itself to " taking the lead in the fight against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi-led UPA government at the centre on the Haryana government’s move to split the apex Sikh religious body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, by setting up a separate panel in the state..
The leading personalities and senior leadership of SAD and BJP paid glowing tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal an apostle of peace and communal harmony.
The NDA’s unequivocal and politically pregnant declaration of intent came even as Panthic agenda reverberated in this historic town where lakhs echoed the anti-Sonia and anti-Congress slogans at the 23rd anniversary of legendary icon of peace and communal harmony, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.
The BJP Chief, Mr. Raj Nath Singh emphatically opposed the Haryasna government’s move, even quoting the Constitution against interference in the religious affairs of any community. Describing the Haryana government’s move as "highly fraught with dangers" he said that if the Congress party and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh did not intervene with the Haryana government to get the move scuttled, the fight against it "would not be an issue for the SAD and the Punjab government alone. The NDA would be in the forefront in opposing it at the national level," he thundered.
His speech gave the SAD a resounding thumbs-up from its national ally in the party’s onslaught against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and her Congress party on the sensitive issue involving the religious sentiments of the Sikhs and provided the proverbial spark to lit up the political ammunition that could see the Congress party once again coming in a headlong collision with the Sikh masses. The Longowal Anniversary, always an occasion that defines the political agenda of the state, was being keenly watched by political observers ever since the SAD Core Committee held Mrs. Sonia Gandhi ‘directly responsible ‘ for the potentially explosive developments in Haryana.
The NDA show of solidarity obviously enthused the SAD leadership and rank and file and drew a hearty response from the vast gathering at the venue. The Punjab Chief Minister , Mr. Parkash Singh Badal seemed to abandon his customary caution and launched a major broadside against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. "Who is the Haryana Chief Minister to have the courage to meddle in Sikh religious affairs. This is all being done at the instance of the Congress High Command." He even cautioned Mrs. Sonia Gandhi against persisting with this "disastrous course as Punjab and the country has already paid too heavy a price for similar misadventures of the Congress in the past," a reference clearly to the traumatic events of 1984. "We are a peace loving community but that does not mean we will remain a mute witness if our religion is under attack. We have borne political and economic injustice stoically, but the Congress would be living in a fools paradise if it thinks it can get away with its attempts to weaken the Khalsa Panth," said the Chief Minister, speaking more in a characteristic Panthic Akali idiom.
Squarely blaming the Congress regime for the assassination of Sant Longowal, Mr. Badal said that Congress ruled Centre had betrayed Sant Harchand Singh- a great national leader who laid down his life for the sake of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat. Mr. Badal said that the real tribute to the great Martyr would be to thwart the anti-national forces that were bent upon distablising our society by political machinations such as the Congress move in Haryana.
The youthful SAD president, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal went for the guttural and said that "the conspiracy to weaken the Khalsa Panth ahd been hatched at 10 Jan Path." Repeatedly warning Sonia Gandhi by name, Sukhbir Singh said that the motive behind the move appeared to be the Congress desperation the face of its failures on every conceivable front, including the inability to control the spiraling price hike and inflation. "The Congress perhaps thinks that its only chance of returning to power lay in reviving the "anti-Sikh" card to deflect national attention from issues of mis-governance. But Sonia is mistaken, because we are not going to allow her to isolate us like her infamous mother-in-law had done. We will take the whole of the country behind us as our casue is legitimate and the Congress ploy is really a recipe for disaster as for as the country’s larger interests are concerned. We are for peace and communal harmony and will not allow the Gandhi family and the Congress party to sow seeds of communal hatred, suspicion and bitterness. We have the support of every community and every political party, except the Congress in defending the cause of the Panth and peace," said Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal in an emotionally charged speech.
Making a forceful plea for announcing atleast Rs.1400 per quintal MSP for paddy well within the time before the onset of procurement season, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that first time in the history the UPA government had announced MSP below the price recommended by the Agriculture Economic Price and Cost Commission (Rs.1000). A resolution to this effect was unanimously adopted on the occasion for the welfare of the farming community which was at the cross roads due to the anti-farmer policies of UPA government. Mr. Sukhbir Badal reiterated that the state government would leave no stone unturned to make agriculture remunerative by initiating all out efforts in this regard.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Jathedar Avtar Singh said that Congress had always been inimical to both SGPC and SAD and this was now evident from their deliberate attempt at the behest of Congress High Command Sonia Gandhi to disintegrate our religious organization – SGPC by making a separate Committee for Haryana. This amply reflected Congress party’s age-old policy of ‘divide and rule’ for which it would never be succeeded in its dubious mission.
The Chief Minister of Himachal Pardesh Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the assassination of Sant Longowal in the post independence era was not less in any terms than that of Mahatma Gandhi. He decried the secessionist forces that were responsible for the martyrdom of Sant and urged the people to thwart the nefarious designs of the secessionist forces that were bent upon to disintegrate our great nation.
In his address Member Parliament from Sangrur and Secretary General SAD Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said that the unprecedented sacrifice made by Sant Longowal for the value based principles reflected his ideology that ultimately changed the destiny of Punjab and Sant Longowal’s dream to see Punjab as a front-runner state would be translated into reality by SAD-BJP alliance through its concerted efforts.
On the occasion, Mr. Badal announced a grant of Rs.2 crore for the provision of sewerage and drinking water facilities in the Longowal town.
Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included National Secretary BJP and Incharge Punjab Affairs Balbir Punj, President BJP Punjab unit Mr.Rajinder Bhandari, General Secretary SAD & Cooperation Minister Capt. Kawaljit Singh, Local Government Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Baldev Singh Bhunder and Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra (both SAD General Secretaries), Senior Vice President Gurdev Singh Badal, Senior Akali leaders Jathedar Tota Singh, Baldev Singh Mann, Member PAC and Former Minister Gobind Singh Longowal besides senior leaders and party workers and SAD-BJP and members of SGPC.