Chandigarh: The Punjab Congress on Monday dismissed the statewide protest launched by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as a "frivolous attempt to divert public attention from the failure" of its erstwhile government in the state to protect the interests of the Sikh community.
In a joint statement issued here, several Punjab Congress leaders termed the protest as another "attempt by the Akalis to further vitiate the atmosphere of the state", which had witnessed a spate of incidents of sacrilege under their rule, which was aimed at "serving their petty political interests".
The statement was issued by Harinder Singh Bhambri, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Narinder Singh Bhaleria, all district unit chiefs of the Congress party.
They claimed that the SAD's "desperate attempt to vilify" the Amarinder Singh-led state government on the issue of the Heritage Street liquor ads had already "backfired" on the party, which was "totally responsible for the obnoxious fallout of its decision" to lease out the LED screens "in gross violation of all ethical norms", without apparently even following the due legal procedure.
Faced with an "imminent exposure" on this and other issues, especially related to "financial bungling and mismanagement" during the decade of its rule, the Akalis were now resorting to "gimmickry and theatrics in a desperate bid to cover up their own wrongdoings", they claimed, while pointing out that the government would soon bring out a "white paper" on the financial misdeeds of the Parkash Singh Badal regime.
Rejecting the allegation that gurdwara properties were being usurped by Congress leaders, the district unit chiefs of the party termed it as an "eyewash" by the Akalis, who had themselves been "guilty" of controlling the largest and most important Sikh religious body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), "to promote their vested political interests".
They termed the SGPC's decision to support the dharnas staged by the Akalis as "unfortunate" and stressed on the need to delineate politics from religion in order to safeguard the religious interests of the people.
The Congress leaders alleged that it was the Akalis who had undermined the Sikh religious legacy by "promoting communal disharmony and indulging in divisive politics" in the state and added that the people of Punjab were sick of such "destructive politicking" and wanted to see the opposition parties play a constructive role to help the government restore their confidence and bring the state back on the path of progress.
Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 18:48:27 IST