Jalandhar, February 4
With the bypoll to the Jalandhar reserved seat on mind, leaders of all political parties seemed to be taking the mileage during the ongoing celebrations of Guru Ravidas Jayanti here.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann chose to make it to the flagging off a special train to Varanasi, the birth place of the guru, on February 2. On a day’s gap, he was again in the city to flag off the shobha yatra held a day ahead of the pious jayanti. On Sunday, he is likely to be here again for the celebrations.
All local leaders of Aam Aadmi Party remained on the centre stage with him. The yatra started from Babu Jagjeevan Ram Chowk, falling in the reserved constituency Jalandhar West represented by the party’s SC leader Sheetal Angural. Balkar Singh from Kartarpur SC seat and Raman Arora from Jalandhar Central were also present on the occasion.
While AAP leaders took mileage locally, SAD leaders reached Varanasi. SAD chief Sukhbir Badal along with MLA Sukhwinder Sukhi and former MLAs Pawan Tinu, Baldev Khaira and BSP leaders, including its state chief Jasvir Garhi, former MP Avtar Singh Karimpuri and BSP MLA Nachhatar Pal Singh visited Seer Govardhan Temple, the site of Guru Ravidass in Varanasi. They got themselves clicked with Dera Sachkhand Ballan chief Sant Niranjan Dass, who heads the seat there too.
Former Chief Minister of the Congress Charanjit Singh Channi along with party MLA Pargat Singh and Nakodar-based leader Dr Navjot Dahiya took part in the yatra from Sri Guru Ravidass Bhawan. Since Channi is a Dalit leader, it is being speculated that he is still interested in contesting the Parliamentary polls from here; this despite the party hinting at fielding Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, the wife of deceased MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary.
Chaudhary’s son and Phillaur MLA Vikramjit Chaudhary took along his mother Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary for the programme. Vikramjit exhorted the people to work for realising the dream of Begumpura, the ideal casteless society envisioned by Guru Ravidas. He participated in shobha yatras at Sri Guru Ravidas Dham, Bootan Mandi and Sri Guru Ravidas Bhawan, Link Road, with his mother Karamjit Kaur and later took part in a shobha yatra in Phillaur.
With mother, he performed the flag-hoisting ceremony at Sri Guru Ravidas School, which was the epicentre of the Ad Dharam movement.
Vikramjit Chaudhary bemoaned that the Bhagwant Mann government had paid no attention to the works started by the previous Congress government and had not released funds for establishing the Sri Guru Ravidas Bani Adhiyan (Research) Centre at Dera Sachkhand Ballan. He said the Congress government had released Rs 25 crore of the total Rs 50 crore allocated for the work on the Adhiyan Centre. The government should release the rest of the grant immediately, he said.
He said while Bhagwant Mann gloats over merely putting up photos of Dr BR Ambedkar in government offices, it was the Congress governments that constructed Ambedkar Bhawans all over the state. Condemning the AAP government, BJP spokesperson Nimisha Mehta said that AAP government’s not holding a state-level programme at shri Khuralgarh sahib the Ravidasia religious dham at Garhshankar shows that it doesn’t care the community’s sentiments.
Nimisha Mehta said in the past all governments organised state-level functions on Guru Ravidas Jayanti but sadly this time the state government has failed to make an announcement to hold a function here even in the days to come.
Even other BJP leaders, including now Chairman of the National Commission for SCs Vijay Sampla, also made it to the shobha yatra. Mehta chose to target the CM by saying he had totally forgotten to hold any programme in the revered place of the guru at Khuralgarh Sahib near Garhshankar where the guru stayed. “The AAP party seems to have totally forgotten the place. The construction work at the memorial has been halted. Sadly, even Deputy Speaker Jai Kishan Rouri, who represents this constituency where this place is, seems to have forgotten to put his foot down in his government to hold a programme.”
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