Asserting that Shiromani Akali Dal was the only party which holds the distinction of being called ‘shaheedan di jatthebandi’ (union of martyrs), its president Sukhbir Singh Badal Tuesday said they would keep fighting for more power and rights for Punjab. He said that SAD was the only party which belongs to Punjabis.
Mentioning the Anandpur Sahib resolution, a charter of demands that was prepared by the Akali Dal in 1973, Sukhbir said that now all regional parties in country were talking on its lines as they want more power for development. “SAD has always followed Guru’s path and principle of Miri Piri. All states have a capital but we don’t have one of our own. All regional parties are now talking on lines of Anandpur Sahib resolution and asking for more powers. Be it our waters or farm laws, SAD has always fought for rights for Punjab. Indira Gandhi gave our water to other states but we fought for it,” said Sukhbir.
He was addressing a rally organised to commemorate the centenary celebrations of the Akali Dal at Killi Chahlan in Moga.
“A hundred years ago, a committee was formed to take back control of gurdwaras from mahants and soon after foundation of SAD was laid.
There are so many parties in country but only SAD has the distinction of being called shaheedan di jathebandi. Earlier during country’s freedom struggle and now for farmers struggle, SAD has stood for people. From speaking against Emergency to Punjabi Suba movement, SAD has always led from the front,” said Sukhbir, while also mentioning the contribution of previous party presidents such as Master Tara Singh, Fateh Singh, Harcharan Singh Longowal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and his father Parkash Singh Badal. He said that SAD was ‘panth tey Punjab di party’ (party of panth and Punjab).
Sukhbir said that whatever development Punjab has witnessed till now was only during SAD regime. “SAD is the only party of Punjab which is your own,” he said, while addressing the rally.
“Whether it is Congress, BJP or AAP, no one calls them party of poor or farmers. Be it tubewell connections, power subsidy, mandis– all that farmers have today has been given by SAD. From atta-dal scheme to pension and shagun scheme, it was all started by Parkash Singh Badal as Punjab’s CM,” said Sukhbir.
While announcing that all places of worship in Punjab would be given free power supply if SAD-BSP comes to power next year, Sukhbir said, ‘From Valmiki to Ravidassia, Anandpur Sahib to Harmandir Sahib, it is only SAD which has developed religious places of all communities in Punjab. What did Congress do?”
Addressing the rally in presence of BSP national leader Satish Chandra Mishra, Sukhbir said that now there were four political fronts in Punjab- SAD, BJP, Congress and AAP – but it was only SAD-BSP that belongs to Punjabis.
“Just like SAD, BSP is also Punjab’s own party because Kanshi Ram was from Punjab, he fought election from Punjab and started his fight for rights of poor. Will Sonia Gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal fight for you ever?,” said Sukhbir.
Sukhbir also made a number of announcements. Announcing new poll promises, Sukhbir Badal said farmers would be given crop insurance cover for any damage of their crop and minimum Rs 50,000 compensation would be given if the SAD-BSP alliance comes to power.
He further promised restoration of the old pension scheme for government employees. At present, the employees recruited after 2004 are not entitled for pension after retirement. “Electricity supply to all religious places, including gurdwara, temple, mosque and church, will be made free,” he said.
He also promised formation of a government corporation for the mining sector to end the sand mafia.
Sukhbir also promised to end the monopoly in the liquor business. He said more graveyard grounds would be made available for the Muslim and Christian communities.
He announced that the SAD-BSP alliance would not allow anyone to disturb the peace and communal harmony in the state. “‘Bhaicharak Sanjh’ cannot be compromised with. I am also committed to taking Punjab to new heights of development”, he further said.
A resolution condemning the Congress government’s alleged attempts to register false cases against SAD-BSP alliance leaders was passed in the rally. The resolution, which was read out by Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, also demanded the resignation of CM and home minister in ‘the cash for transfer case.’ It also demanded judicial probe into bribery charges levelled against the home minister who has been accused by a cabinet colleague of taking money for posting SSPs.
Sukhbir said that SAD was committed to strengthening federal nature of the country. Senior party leader Prem Singh Chandumajra read out a resolution in this regard calling for formation of a Sanjha Morcha to espouse the cause of federalism nationally.
SAD called for formation of a ‘Sanjha Morcha’ of regional parties across country, ‘minus BJP and Congress’ to strengthen federalism and autonomy of the states.
“Mark my words, SAD-BSP will cross 80- plus seats in upcoming polls… AAP will be reduced to less than 10 seats. Even in remaining seats, we are among top two either against Congress or AAP. We are not at number three on any seat,” said Sukhbir Badal, while speaking to The Indian Express at the rally venue. BSP national leader Satish Mishra however said the alliance was set to sweep the forthcoming polls by securing 100 seats.
Sukhbir said that Congress humiliated seasoned leader Sunil Jakhar’s community by first ‘publicising that he would be the next CM but later leaking out media reports that no one from his community could be made the CM of Punjab by Congress. ”Such communal games are nothing new to Congress.”
A photo exhibition put up at the rally venue showcased SAD’s history of participation in various ‘morchas’ related to Punjab’s rights and other religious issues which included Chaabiyan da morcha, Saaka Panja Sahib, Jaiton morcha, Saaka Nankana Sahib, Punjabi Suba morcha, Protest against Emergency, Dharam Yuddh Morcha and agitation against 1984 anti-Sikh riots.