Back on stage after hiatus, Parkash Singh Badal targets Congress

Invokes 1984 riots, Golden Temple attack | Terms sacrilege charges propaganda

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3

Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today returned to the political stage when he addressed his first rally in the state after over two years at the Thermal Ground in Bathinda. The rally was held to protest the damage to cotton crops due to pink bollworm attacks and seek compensation from the state government for the affected farmers in the Malwa region.

Former CM Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal during a rally in Bathinda on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Stand by farmers firmly

The SAD stands rock solid behind the kisan unions despite all accusations. We will not flinch in this fight to secure justice… I am ready to make the supreme sacrifices. Parkash Singh Badal, SAD patron

The SAD patron invoked the 1984 Sikh riots and attack on Golden Temple to target the Congress and Gandhi family. Terming the allegation of laxity over sacrilege incidents against the SAD as propaganda, he said: “Those who accuse us have no idea what sin they are committing by casting aspersions on devout Sikhs themselves. The attack on Golden Temple was the third Ghalughara done by the Congress, which led to killing of many Sikhs.

“At the time of 1984 riots, both Giani Zail Singh and Buta Singh were President and Home Minister, respectively, but they did not quit, whereas Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet over the three farm laws.”

He said all Opposition MPs, including the Congress, walked out of Parliament during the voting on the farm Bills, which indirectly cleared the way for legislation; only two MPs of SAD — Sukhbir and Harsimrat — voted against those.

Speaking on the damaged cotton crop, he said: “Cotton farmers have been hit hard by pink worm, but the state government is fighting for their seats. We are today putting pressure on the government to announce compensation for the damaged crop”.

Indicating that he might get proactive in the coming days, Badal said: “Age or health considerations notwithstanding, I am ready to make the supreme sacrifices in defending the interests of Punjabis in general and the farmers in particular.”

Sukhbir and Harsimrat gave an ultimatum to the government to announce compensation cotton farmers within a week, or else the SAD would gehrao the house of Chief Minister.

The 93-year-old SAD patron made a gaffe at the start of his speech, when he accidentally referred to SAD-BJP workers, instead of SAD-BSP. The SAD broke ranks with the BJP last year over the three controversial agriculture laws. The Akalis are allying with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for next year’s Assembly elections.

Badal, who has kept a low profile since the 2019 General Elections, cited his poor health for his long absence from the political scene. He made his first political appearance after a hiatus of over one and half years last month at a rally organised by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Jind.

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