CHANDIGARH: Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday accused the Punjab government of playing politics over the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in November and trying to "weaken" the Sikhs' highest temporal Akal Takht.
Bathinda MP Kaur also alleged that the state government has failed to execute any development project at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala where the main event for the Sikhism founder's birth anniversary celebration will be held.
Kaur's reaction came a day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday rejected the apex gurdwara body SGPC's charges of the state government being cold to participation in the Sikhism founder's birth anniversary celebrations.
The chief minister had asserted a Group of Ministers has already been constituted to coordinate with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to finalise the historic commemorative programme.
Rejecting the allegation that his government was showing no interest in holding a joint function as directed by the Akal Takht, Singh asserted it was the SGPC which has been refusing to join the government in celebrating the historic occasion on a common platform.
All religious functions have always been organised under the aegis of SGPC irrespective of the government in power at the Centre and state, said Harsimrat Kaur, pointing out that the SGPC is an elected body of Sikhs.
She said Akal Takht jathedar had appealed to everyone including the state government to celebrate the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev together.
She added that in 2017 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's government too had held the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh under the SGPC aegis and had not made it a government function.
"All religious functions have always been organised by the SGPC and every party has risen to the occasion as the Sikh faith does not belong to any party," she said.
"But it is painful to see that the state government wanted to weaken the Akal Takht Sahib by playing politics over this issue. You all have seen that on directions of the Akal Takht jathedar, the jathedars of all other Takhts told the chief minister that we should celebrate the function together," she said.
The jathedars of other Takhts had also asked the government to nominate two of its members for the purpose, she added.
"Despite writing letters, neither the state government is appointing its members nor they are interested in holding the event jointly.
They are trying to hold different functions and want to create confusion among the Sikh community, she alleged.
The Union minister said she hopes the chief minister stops playing politics over the issue and focus on completing the developmental project at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala for the function.
"No work has been done in Sultanpur Lodhi. I want to ask them except putting up hoardings, what work the state government has done in Sultanpur Lodhi," she said.
"I have learnt they are going to hold a Cabinet meeting at Sultanpur Lodhi tomorrow. You know in the next few days the code of conduct is likely to be imposed and then they will make it an excuse (for not carrying out the development)," she added.
"We have started our work of painting the city white as this government is not interested at all (in executing the development projects at Sultanpur Lodhi)," she said.
Kaur added that the Centre has sanctioned several projects for celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
While the SGPC has decided to hold the main event at a college in Sultanpur Lodhi in November, the government wanted to hold the function near a "Tent City" coming up there.
On September 7, the SGPC had accused the state government of not sending the government representatives to the coordination committee formed to jointly hold the functions related to Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary.
It is said Guru Nanak Dev attained enlightenment at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district during his stay there for over 14 years.