Massive Bargari turn out manifestation of cumulative anger among people

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, October 8: The massive turn out of people, mainly the Sikhs, at Bargari yesterday is manifestation of cumulative anger among the people triggered by sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and all out efforts by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and former deputy chief minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal to claim virtual innocence. Bargari sacrilege is the albatross that would continue to hang around the neck of Badals.

What has further added to the anger is the attack on the organisers of the Bargari Morcha who are being slammed as agents of the ISI and the Congress by the Badals. Significantly, only Badals in the Akali Dal are attacking them with this allegation and other leaders have their reservation against this line.

The issue is now more than sacrilege and is turning multi-dimensional.

The Sunday Patiala rally gave no indication that there is going to be any re-thinking in the Badal camp in this approach to deal with the basic issues that are beneath this anger or the approach towards Bargari agitation.

The situation is getting compounded with the perception that is taking roots that Capt Amarinder Singh government too is dragging feet  on the issue of taking action against those named in Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report. They mainly are the police officials named in the case of opening fire on peaceful protesters, first at Kotkapura and later at Behbal Kalan next to Bargari. These four police officials have got stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and action can be taken only after this stay is vacated.

Under the normal situation, discontent against a political outfit starts getting diluted once the party is pushed out if power but that is not the case with the Akali Dal, the second oldest party in the country after the Congress that has now come to be synonymous with the Badal family.

Electoral dynamics is altogether different arithmetic but the Akali Dal can’t afford to distance from its core vote bank. The 2017 result is the evidence.

Sukhbir Singh Badal experimented with putting up more Hindu candidates but that had not paid dividends in the long run.

It is not for the first time that the Akali Dal has come out with the articulation of Punjabiat. Sant Fateh Singh too had experimented with it but the party had to subsequently adopt the Anandpur Sahib resolution in 1973 to go back to its roots. That history has been overlooked. Nothing wrong with social engineering as part of the electoral dynamics but that has to be done without compromising the basics.

Badals are now paying the price for appeasement of Dera Sacha Sauda and that too at the time when needle of suspicion was pointed towards this sect in the case of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari. Badal has been avoiding this issue.

It is for the first time that 5-time chief minister has been seen beseeching people to join the rally at Patiala saying it was his prestige issue. It should have been the prestige issue of Akali Dal.

Post rally pictures that have gone viral on the social media provide interesting aspect. Without the party flags, one can’t make out whether the people are from the Akali rally or the Congress. Liquor is common in all such pictures.

It is an open secret now that the political parties hire people for these rallies and the participation is directly proportional to budget.

That precisely was not the case with Bargari.

The issues at the core of Bargari agitation would continue to impact the political dynamics at least in the near future.

Jagtar Singh


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