Chandigarh ,Sanjay Pahwa – The Shiromani Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today thanked the Sikh masses for once again reposing overwhelming faith in the Shiromani Akali Dal to serve the Khalsa Panth through the religious parliament of the Sikhs, the SGPC.
In his first reaction to the resounding victory of his party in the election to the General House of the Sikh religious body, the SAD president said that he had been deeply moved by the trust placed by the Khalsa Panth in the programmes and polcies of his party. He said that he had “no words to express his gratitude to the masses for the affection, faith and confidence showered on him and his party’s candidates.” This was SAD’s first SGPC election with Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal as president. Mr. Badal said that the overwhelming nature of his party’s win had increased his sense of humility, responsibility and commitment to the service of the masses. He said that he and his party “would work day and night to prove equal to the people’s confidence and expectations in upholding the values that Gurbani teaches us”.
Mr. Badal said however that he had been pained by the unseemly and totally unwarranted “show of breast-beating” by a senior leader like Captain Amarinder Singh as also by the PPP president Manpreet Singh Badal over the SGPC poll results. He said that instead of indulging in ‘the pathetic ravings of political frustration’ , everyone in the fray should have shown humility in accepting the verdict of the Khalsa Panth with grace. “This is the minimum one can do at least in an election of religious nature like the one to the SGPC General house.”
The SAD president pointed out that it was not only in Punjab alone, where the SAD-BJP were in government but also in Haryana that the Khalsa Panth had placed its faith in the SAD and had thwarted those who were out to divide the community.”It is for the the Congress sponsored Panthic Morcha and Manpreet to explain why our opponents met the same fate even in the Congress-ruled Haryana where the SAD won eight out of 11 seats. In fact, their plight in Haryana is even more pitiable as the main leaders of the Panthic Morcha, Jhinda and Nalvi, lost with humiliating margins. What — except total rejection by Sikh masses — explains this heavy drubbing even outside Punjab?” asked Mr.Badal , adding that the Sikhs had never forgiven anyone who conspired with the Congress to weaken the Khalsa Panth. “Those who tried to the Akali Dal and those who tried to divide the Panth have both been punished by the Sikh masses,” said Mr. Badal.
Responding to the criticism levelled by Manpreet Singh badal, Mr. Badal said that he could understand the sentiments of his cousin in his hour of defeat and despair.”Manpreet indulged in tall talk about defeating his uncle and the SAD in Gidderbaha ( Doda). But the candidate for whom he toiled day and night, lost by a staggering margin of 34000 votes. “No amount of alibis can wash away the enormity of this defeat. And it was on what he called “his home turf”. Similarly, Captain Amarinder Singh, Simranjit Singh Mann, his son Iman Singh Mann, Jhinda and Nalvi all faced disappointment and defeat on their home turfs.
Referring to some allegations of the two leaders and their front-men regarding the conduct of the poll, Mr. Badal said that that appeared to be a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. “Everybody knows who wanted non-practising Sikhs to cast votes in these elections. We opposed that vehemently as we believed it to be against the basic tenets and Maryada of the Khalsa Panth. But unfortunately, others did not think so and tried everything to get non-Sikhs or non-practising Sikhs to decide the fate of the religious body. But it is unfortunate that when they failed to achieve that through legitimate means, the Congress and its supporters tried to create confusion by resorting to high handedness, impersonation, bogus votes and other cheap tricks like that. “But even these did not work and the Khalsa Panth has shown them their place. However, if past is any guide, our opponents are not likely to learn any lessons from history,” said the Akali leader.
The Akali leader said that the media had fully exposed,with photographic evidence, how those who advocated voting rights to non-practising Sikhs defied the instructions of the court and of the commission and resorted to bogus means in order to defeat the religious aspirations of the devout Sikh masses in this election.
However, the SAD leader advised the publicity units of the Congress, the PPP and the Panthic Morcha to preserve the statements issued by their leaders yesterday ‘because these would be needed by them even after the assembly elections in February.
The Akali leader further said that it was amusing but revealing how Amarinder and Manpreet, both of whom claimed to have no interest in the religious election, “have clearly been shaken to their foundations by these results. If you really had no interest in the SGPC polls, why these signs of panic, nervousness and desperation”, asked Mr. Badal .