Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of serious discrimination against the Congress government in Punjab in matters of religious importance, as part of his and his party’s divisive agenda.
Upping the ante against Modi, who had on Sunday chosen to target him in a speech at Kathua, Captain Amarinder asked why the prime minister had not pointed fingers at the Akali leaders’, including the Badals, for failing to attend the central government function to commemorate the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Neither Prakash or Sukhbir Badal, nor Harsimrat Badal, who happens to be a minister in Modi’s own cabinet, deemed it fit to pay their homage to the martyrs at the historic Jallianwala Bagh, the Chief Minister pointed out. Yet Modi, who himself chose to keep away from this occasion of national importance, had criticized him even though he had been part of a series of events at the Jallianwala Bagh national memorial over two days, said the Chief Minister, lambasting the prime minister for his selective and politically motivated attack.
"Why was Mr Modi not present at this major event? Why did the Badals fail to turn up, and why did the prime minister chose to conveniently ignore their absence?,” asked the Chief Minister, in a hard-hitting statement.
Interpreting Modi’s actions and words as part of his government’s persistent discrimination against the Congress government in Punjab, Captain Amarinder said by holding a parallel event to mark the Jallianwala Bagh centenary, instead of supporting the state government’s commemorative programmes, the prime minister had exposed his true intent.
Captain Amarinder said there was a clear pattern in Modi’s attack on him on the Jallianwala Bagh issue, which the central government had been brazenly and shamelessly trying to politicize to woo the Punjabi community and further his political ambitions. The community, however, was not likely to be taken in by such petty acts of omission and commission, he added, urging the prime minister to come out with a constructive agenda to garner votes in the state.
Punjab, with a strong Congress government at its helm, posed a serious challenge to Modi’s ambitions, making it a target of his unsavoury and petty assaults, said Captain Amarinder. The prime minister’s continuous refusal to make funds available for the 550th Prakash Parv of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, scheduled to be celebrated in November this year, was in line with his partisan approach, he added. The Chief Minister said he would not be surprised if the Modi government had planned a separate event to mark the Prakash Parv also, in an effort to score one-upmanship on this most significant occasion.
Why was Mr Modi not present at this major event? Why did the Badals fail to turn up, and why did the prime minister chose to conveniently ignore their absence?
Modi had been persistently trying to undermine the Congress-led governments in various states in a desperate bid to win the Lok Sabha elections, where the BJP was clearly on slipper ground, he added.
Describing Modi as a barefaced credit-seeker, Captain Amarinder said the prime minister had exposed himself on this count again and again, with the Kartarpur Corridor foundation laying ceremony in November last year another case in instance. In fact, the Chief Minister pointed out, it had been a habit with the incumbent BJP-led government at the Centre to try and usurp the credit for various initiatives and development works launched or undertaken by previous regimes.
The prime minister, said Captain Amarinder, had no positive plank to take to the voters in these elections and was thus resorting to such credit wars in the desperate hope that he would be able to sway the electorate by misleading them in this manner. The people of Punjab, and in fact the entire nation, had seen through these frantic tactics of the prime minister and would mercilessly and unceremoniously throw his government out of power, he added.
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