Massive Panthic turn out at Bargari, of Punjabis at Patiala and impressive Congress show at Lambi

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, October 7: It was a massive and voluntary turn out at Bargari, the epicentre of agitation in the Malwa heartland of Punjab to demand action against the culprits of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and police firing on protesters.

The gathering was Panthic, reminiscent of Panthic conclaves in the Golden Temple complex till about quarter of a century back, barring Sarbat Khalsa at Chabba near Amritsar on November 10, 2015. Importantly, participation by women of all ages was sizeable.

Being Panthic, the crowd was responsive.

The show by Shiromani Akali Dal, the once Panthic outfit, was that of Punjabis and this point of the rally being ‘gathering of Punjabis’ was hammered repeatedly from the stage. The crowd was non-responsive.

It was the usual Congress conclave at Lambi when the party is in power but the mobilisation in this Badal homeland was impressive. It was the launch of the campaign for 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Significantly, at Bargari too, parallel acting Akal Takht Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand virtually  launched the election campaign and presented the leadership that would put up the candidates but without entering into specifics.

He lined up the leaders of Insaaf Morcha, Khaira from rebel AAP and Simarjit Singh Bains from Lok Insaaf Party when he told the assembly, “You would form the next government. You just have to put up the candidates. Here are the leaders”.

Earlier, he announced setting up of a 21-member committee, mainly of the youth.

Here is yet another design to add third dimension to Punjab’s electoral dynamics after the fiasco that turned out to be AAP  ending up as the main opposition relegating the Akali Dal to the third position, only to split.

Mand confronted those raising the bogey of threat to peace from Bargari Morcha citing universalism of Guru Granth Sahib. Allaying all apprehensions to peace and amity, he made it clear the fight was to get justice and punish the culprits of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

He said Bargari was a volcano. “The state government would come cringing to us. None can defeat us. We would be victorious”, he said. He claimed his objective was to infuse new spirit in the demoralised Sikh Qaum and throw out the Akalis.

He challenged both the Modi government at the centre and the Punjab government. “I care too hoots for Punjab government”, he added.

The Akali stage represented both some contradictions as well as comical touch.

The speakers claimed it was gathering of Punjabis but Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal  claimed the party to be representative of ‘Sikh Panth’. Panthic people are Punjabis but all Punjabis are not Panthic. He should take a clear line.

Sukhbir should compromise with the fact that he is no more in the government. He started listing achievements of his party government during 10 year rule, overlooking the fact that despite all his roads and airports, the people of Punjab heaped a crushing and humiliating defeat on the party. He should come out with new agenda. Now is the time for him to get over this hang over.

Here is the  comic relief part.

Sukhbir started his speech with “Mere Pita Samaan Bazurg”. He was addressing  his father Parkash Singh Badal as ‘father-like’. His tongue had slipped years back at Muktsar Maghi rally where his father corrected him.

Former minister Sikander Singh Maluka presented extreme in sycophancy when he said, “If You want peace, Sukhbir has to be the chief minister”.

Badal Senior made an interesting revelation, for the second time within a few weeks. He said he had visited the Golden Temple complex two days after Operation Bluestar. The first dignitary to visit the complex was President Giani Zail Singh on June 8.

That area was still under curfew as dead bodies were being removed.

Badal needs to clarify his claims as there is no record of his visiting the complex two days after the attack was over, even with special permission. He had skipped the meeting of the Akali Dal on June 2.

He today again attacked the Bargari Morcha leaders as those who raised the slogan: “Pehlan Wadhange Mone, Phir Wadhange Jhone”.

However, he did not touch upon the basic issue of sacrilege and compromise with Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh arrived at within days of this sacrilege that is at the root of the Sikh anger. Akal Takht,  the highest seat of the Sikhs for prayer and politics, was misused by him to secure pardon for Dera chief.

Badal should explain as to why Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates were summoned to his official residence during that period. More than the sacrilege, it is this issue that is crucial.

Dal Khalsa chief Harpal Singh Cheema and spokesman Kanwarpal Singh said Bargari would be the last nail in the coffin of both the Congress as well as the Akali Dal.

Bargari Morcha leaders should try to be pragmatic to carve out space in the democratic domain, otherwise they would end up helping the Badals.


Jagtar Singh


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