Bargari, Behbal and Burj reject Badals

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, September 24: The three villages of Bargari, Behbal and Burj Jawahar Singhwala – the ground zero of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015- have rejected the Badals led Akali Dal in the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections.

In the zila parishad elections in Bargari, the Congress polled 2313 votes and Akali Dal 1414 votes. The share of independents was 391 votes. Burj Jawahar Singhwala polled 568 for Congress, 129 for Akali Dal and 113 in favour of independents. In Behbal Kalan, the Congress received 587 votes with the Congress getting 183 and AAP 175.

The same pattern is discernible in panchayat samite polls. The Congress polled 2373, the Akali Dal 1350 and AAP 414 votes in Bargari. In Burj, the Congress got 609 votes, the Akali Dal 85 and AAP 127. The Congress led with 740 followed by AAP with 232 votes with Akali Dal getting 98 votes in Behbal Kalan.

This pattern betrays the anger of the people against the Badal family.

According to the information now available, the Akali Dal had made an attempt on the eve of the polling to reach out to the voters in Bargari but the same was frustrated by the Congress. The design was to get the maximum possible votes, possibly majority and then extend the logic that the agitation that is going on in the village led by a section of the Sikhs is motivated. Several Akali activists had been deployed in Bargari but they were told to leave by the people.

It is pertinent to mention that the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib was reported missing on June 1, 2015 from Burj village gurdwara and its pages were found scattered on the streets of adjoining Bargari a few weeks later. Posters had later been pasted in Burj and Bargari by those who claimed that they had stolen it. These posters had thrown a challenge to locate it in Bargari. The police remained inactive. Clear indication was available from these posters of the involvement of Dera Sacha Sauda followers.

Two people were shot by the police when fire was opened on protesters in Behbal next to Bargari. These people were protesting against sacrilege and inaction of the police.

These villages at one time were known to be the Akali bastion.

Rather than making amends, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal continues to be in confrontationist mode. It may be recalled that he six welcome functions had been arranged in Bargari on a single day in one of the elections for Sukhbir when he was campaigning for his party. He was accompanied by Mantar Singh Brar.

Allegations and counter-allegations between Sukhbir Badal and Bargari Insaaf Morcha leaders have been flying thick and fast.

However, the basic issue is punishment to the guilty, both for sacrilege and firing on peaceful protesters killing two persons.

At play at that time was electoral dynamics design as rather than the traditional support base, the Akali Dal leadership designed the strategy to mobilise Dera Sacha Sauda vote bank.

The Dera supporters have now turned cautious. Moreover, Dera head Gurmit Ram Rahim is in jail and that too in a rape case.

The Akali Dal would have to re-work its strategy.

Raising the bogey of threat to peace and harmony would not work.

Jagtar Singh


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