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Punjab

Posted at: Jul 12, 2018, 1:26 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2018, 2:33 AM (IST)

Punish Sajjan, Tytler for ’84 riots: Sukhbir

PM rally Terms Modi ‘saviour of farmers’; says MSP hike historic decision
Punish Sajjan, Tytler for ’84 riots: Sukhbir
Union minister Harsimrat Badal greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Kisan Khet Mazdoor Dhanwaad Rally at Malout on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Archit Watts

Tribune News Service

Malout, July 11

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday not only projected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “saviour of farmers”, but also tried to win over the Sikh vote bank by urging the PM to punish Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler for their alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

He also appreciated the Centre’s move to waive GST on langar purchases.

Addressing the rally here, Sukhbir said: “The next year is the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and if Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler are sent to jail, justice will be delivered to Sikhs.”

He said: “Just one family of the Congress ruled over the country for 37 years and other Congressmen ruled for 18 years, but only three leaders raised the issues of farmers — Badal saheb, Devi Lal and Chaudhary Charan Singh. Now, Modi saheb has done what he promised by increasing the MSP of crops as per the Swaminathan report. It will give Rs 6,000 per acre benefit on paddy, Rs 15,000 maize and Rs 11,000 cotton. In spite of this, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has not even thanked the PM. This income of farmers will also add to revenue of the state government as well.”

State BJP chief Shwait Malik and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar too thanked the PM. Khattar was the lone speaker who appreciated the PM’s demonetisation.

Former CM Parkash Singh Badal called Modi the “messiah of farmers”. He said the PM took a historic decision of increasing the MSP. During his address, nearly seven Congressmen showed him black flags and raised anti-SAD slogans. They were immediately gagged by the policemen in civvies and Akali workers present there and taken out. Following this, Badal cut short his speech.

Those detained were identified as Akshay Kumar, state president, NSUI; Jagmeet Singh, state general secretary; Nikku Randhara, president, Ropar; Mehak Sandhu, president, Fazilka; Khushnaseeb Singh, Jaspreet Singh and Parminder Singh. They were released after a warning.

Jasvir Singh, SHO, City Malout police station, said: "We had detained some troublemakers from the rally venue, but released them after a warning since no complaint was lodged against them."

NSUI president Akshay Sharma said: "We were lodging a protest against the Centre under our programme 'char saal desh ka yuva behaal'. Earlier, we had even lodged a protest during Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit and this will continue in future as well."


SIDELIGHTS
BKU (Ekta Sidhupur) blocks road

Some activists of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) blocked the Malout-Bathinda highway at Thehri for some time, alleging that those who attended the PM’s rally were not real farmers. They claimed that the hike in MSP of some crops was merely an eyewash.

Dais exclusively for Modi

There were two daises on the stage. While Shwait Malik, Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Badal and ML Khattar used one dais, the other one was kept reserved exclusively for Narendra Modi. The latter also used teleprompter for the speech.

Dhadis’ retort to Maluka 

Former minister Sikander Singh Maluka, who was stage secretary, advised ‘dhadis’ (balladeers) twice to restrict themselves to singing ballads on Sikh gurus and heroes and not take any names of political leaders. The ‘dhadis’ were repeatedly announcing names of some local leaders present there. However, when Maluka stopped them, irate over it, they announced from the public address system that earlier the Congress stopped them and now Akalis, too, were doing the same. A “dhadi” went on to say, “We don’t even get a single penny from Akalis for such programmes.”

Senior leaders given due honour

The SAD gave due honour to its senior leaders. Besides Badals, only Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Sikander Singh Maluka were present on the stage. Others were standing close to the stage on the ground. 

Badals project BJP as a larger party

The huge hoarding installed on the stage had five photos of BJP leaders — Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, ML Khattar and Shwait Malik. From SAD, there were only three photos, that of Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir and Harsimrat Badal. Even in the ‘pandal’, cutouts of some state BJP leaders were installed. The number of BJP leaders on stage was almost equal to that of SAD leaders. 

Majithia among absentees 

Former minister Bikram Singh Majithia remained conspicuous by his absence. Notably, he had come here on Tuesday to take stock of the preparations along with Sukhbir and Harsimrat Badal. Also, though huge hoardings of former state BJP chief Kamal Sharma were installed in the ‘pandal’, he, too, did not turn up. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s photo was displayed along with other VVIPs on stage but she, too, skipped the event. Ferozepur MP Sher Singh Ghubaya did not come to the rally. Notably, he had developed differences with SAD during the state elections. His son Davinder Ghubaya is now the Congress MLA from Fazilka.

Contributed by Archit Watts

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