Chandigarh, December 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday hit out at its leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa after he joined the BJP ahead of assembly polls in Punjab, and said he betrayed the "Khalsa Panth" and switched over as a case was registered against him.
The SAD also described Sirsa joining the BJP "as just one attempt by the enemies of the 'Khalsa Panth' to achieve through conspiracies what they cannot achieve with the will of the Sikh quom (community)." "This is the continuation of Indira Gandhi tactics against Sikh quom and one more direct assault on the religious sovereignty of the Khalsa Panth through the misuse of governmental might and the registration of false cases. Sikh Panth accepts this challenge and will meet it head on," the SAD said in a statement.
It said that earlier a case was registered against Sirsa, SAD Delhi president Jathedar Harmeet Singh Kalka and 11 other members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, which was headed by Sirsa.
"But while all other members lived up to the traditions of the Khalsa Panth in fighting repression, it is unfortunate that Sirsa buckled under pressure and betrayed the Khalsa Panth and spirit," it said.
"Khalsa Panth is too big for any individual. Individuals come and go. Khalsa Panth goes on and will go on forever," said the statement.
"It is clear that the enemies of the Panth can never win against the Sikh masses. So they always try to weaken the quom by resorting to these conspiracies…these conspiracies have always been defeated and will always be exposed and defeated in future also," it said.
The Akali Dal leader also resigned as the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief just before joining the BJP in the presence of senior party leaders and Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
After the joining ceremony at the BJP headquarters, Sirsa met Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda.
Sirsa has been a prominent face of the Akali Dal in the national capital and was a strong supporter of the farmers' protests against the three contentious farm laws.
Parliament recently passed a bill to annul the three laws in what has been seen as the BJP's effort to placate the protesting farmers, a large number of whom are Sikhs from Punjab.
After joining the party, Sirsa told the media, "I have always raised my voice for the issues related to Sikhs. I had a chat with Home Minister Amit Shah ji with regard to issues concerning Sikhs across the country. I am happy that not only did he talk to me but said that he wants to solve these issues and will raise them with the Prime Minister as well." Sirsa was considered a close aide of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and was one of the party's most visible faces when it came to Sikh religion-related issues.
His joining the saffron party ahead of 2022 Punjab polls is seen as a jolt to the SAD. --- PTI
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