CHANDIGARH: With Lok Sabha elections just a few months away, former Deputy Chief Minister and
Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal visited the Golden temple with his father and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal leading the party in the initiation of ‘akhand path’ at Akal Takht seeking atonement for “mistakes” that might have been committed “inadvertently” during
their ten-year-long rule.
Interestingly it is also Parkash Singh Badal’s birthday today.
Meanwhile, observers feel it as a sign of tribute to the SAD’s Panthic roots, in order to get back the core panthic vote bank which has drifted away from the party. The SAD-BJP government had been
rocked by a series of sacrilege incidents and the Behbal Kalan police firing in 2015.
The ‘path’ (prayers) commenced in the presence of SAD’s core committee members, former ministers, MLAs, halqa in-charges and SGPC members. Both the Badals, Bikram Majithia, along with other
leaders did sewa at the Joda Ghar (where shoes are kept).
Party spokesperson and former education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said the entire SAD leadership had unanimously decided to "bow before Akal Takht in humility".
Parkash Singh Badal, when asked about the dissident ‘taksali’ leaders, said the term is being blown out of proportion. On being asked if there would be a move to bring the rebels back to party fold he said, “All of them should join back and do service in the mother party as they did in the past.”
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh lambasted the Badal clan and other party leaders, MLAs for misusing religion to garner public support, which they had completely lost over the past two years. It was obvious that the Badals has their eyes on the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and the apology drama
was enacted for that purpose, he said. Had they been sincere in their apology, they would not have chosen to give their misdeeds the garb of `inadvertent errors’ but would have had the decency and courage to admit to their crimes of omission and commission, he added.
He pointed to the timing of the so-called apology to criticise the act of the Akali leaders. It (the apology) has come at a time when they are at the centre of criticism over various serious and sensitive issues, including the sacrilege and police firing cases of 2015 and the issue of pardon granted to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 2007 blasphemy case, Amarinder noted.
Aam Aadmi Party MP from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann, also lashed out at Badals for again trying to befool people of the state with the apology drama. Mann called the move of Badals to visit Golden Temple and perform seva as their biggest ever political drama.
Meanwhile radical Sikh outfit, Dal Khalsa lashed out at Akali Dal for once again cheating the Sikhs by enacting so-called drama before the almighty in admitting jane-anjane galtihan (mistakes wittingly or unwittingly).