Saturday, January 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


M A I N   N E W S

Doors open for unity: Badal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4
Paving the way for foging Panthic unity, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, today said the doors of his party were always open for any party which would help defeat the Congress which was responsible for Operation Bluestar and Delhi riots.

Without elaborating, Mr Badal who paid his obeisance from “darshani deori”, which is common entrance for Akal Takht and the Golden Temple, said he had “apologised” as a devout Sikh for any inadvertent mistake which he could have made in the past. He said every Sikh sought such apology from the Almighty while performing “ardas”. Replying a question, Mr Badal said his party was ready to forge unity with any party which was interested in defeating the Congress.

Meanwhile, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, held a closed-door meeting with Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib, and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, here today. Though it could not be ascertained what transpired in the meeting, yet sources said the Sikh high priests discussed the ways and means relating to bring rapprochement between the warring Akali factions.

It is pertinent to mention here that Jathedar Vedanti had issued two appeals to the leaders of various Akali factions emphasising the need of Panthic unity. However, the unity move had evoked mixed response.

Since Mr Badal could not enter the Golden Temple and Akal Takht premises due to fractured leg, he had to perform ardas at the main entrance. After the obeisance, Mr Badal said Akal Takht and the Golden Temple were places where every devout Sikh was ready to visit even carrying his head on palm. And this was beyond and above all disputes among leaders of any hue.

Addressing the ‘sangat’ in front of the Golden Temple from the specially designed vehicle, Mr Badal urged it to bring back the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP into power so that he could serve the state for yet another five-year term.

The informal meeting of three Sikh high priests assumes significance as the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani have also initiated efforts to bring rapprochement between the warring Akali factions. Sources close to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, have confirmed that Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh, has again approached the SHSAD for the unity. However, Mr Tohra has reportedly told the mediators that he could not negotiate with the ruling Akali Dal unless Mr Badal gets ‘NOC’ (no-objection certificate) from Akal Takht.

The Sikh circles feel that Mr Badal had clearly hinted that he had accepted the demand of Mr Tohra for appearing before the Takht by stating that ‘to err is human, to forgive divine”. “Now the ball is in the court of Mr Tohra. If he (Mr Tohra) respond positively to the gesture of Mr Badal it will be clear that he is sincere in defeating the Congress.”

Earlier, Mr Badal held impressive gatherings at Beas, Khlchian and Jandiala. He also toured the border area where he listened to the grievances of villagers. 


Badal writes to EC on convoy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today wrote to the Election Commission of India on the objections raised in regard to his convoy from Chandigarh to Amritsar on Thursday.

The letter was addressed to the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, who was asked to assure the commission that the Code of Conduct would be followed in every respect. Mr Badal took the plea that his journey was a “personal pilgrimage” to Amritsar for thanksgiving for this recovery from injury. The election campaign would commence from Tanda on January 5.

The letter further stated he would be travelling in the border areas as the Chief Minister to instil confidence among the people affected by the tension there.

On observing the code, the letter stated: We remain totally and sincerely committed to its observance and, in addition to a constitutional responsibility, I deem it my moral obligation to ensure a free and fair poll in the state”.

The letter asked the Chief Secretary to get directions from the commission as to the security norms to be observed in “my case during my travel through the state, more especially in the light of the tension on the border”.

Mr Badal stated emphatically that during the entire journey on Thursday, the number of vehicles accompanying him never exceeded that permitted under the rules. He desired that the registration numbers of the official vehicles in his convoy should be intimated to the commission.

All other vehicles belonged to people who had turned up voluntarily to welcome him after his long absence, said the letter. “The administration, as you are aware, has been under strict instructions since the date of announcement of the poll to observe the model Code of Conduct not only in letter but also in spirit”.

He further told the commission how throughout his career as a public figure he had respected democratic values and traditions and had spent nearly two decades behind bars in defence of those values.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |