Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday appealed to all Punjabis to strengthen the party, claiming that it is the true heir to the rich cultural heritage of the state, even as he announced that SAD will continue to strive to remain true to its core principle of ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’.
Addressing a gathering at the Maghi Mela here, which witnessed an unprecedented show of solidarity with SAD, Badal said the future of Punjab is safe only in the hands of the party, which had ushered in record development, besides ensuring peace and communal harmony.
“In stark contrast, you are witnessing a government which has presided over both collapse of law and order as well as potential financial ruin of the state,” he said.
Badal said that Punjabis have already seen how the previous Congress government made false promises to them, adding that Punjabis cannot hope much from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is instigating them to fight with each other.
Calling upon Punjabis to think before taking decisions, Badal said they had been swayed by the slogan of ‘Ek Mauka’ earlier, adding that the last eight months have shown how hollow the slogan is.
“Never before have Punjabis suffered so much. Snatching, robberies and extortions are affecting the common man. The industry is migrating out of the state. All development works have been stalled. Even promises made to the people, including Rs 1,000 per month to women and jobs to youth, have not been fulfilled,” he said.
Badal also asked Punjabis to think before welcoming Rahul Gandhi in their midst.
“The Congress and the Gandhi family have done most damage to Punjab and the Sikh community. Indira Gandhi had ordered the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib while her son Rajiv Gandhi engineered the genocide of Sikhs in 1984,” the SAD chief said.
“The Gandhi family is also responsible for allocating Punjab river water to Rajasthan in violation of the riparian principle. Similarly Indira Gandhi got work started on the SYL canal, and had it not been for the resistance by SAD, Punjab would have lost further water to Haryana leading to a catastrophe in the state,” the SAD chief said.
Asserting that Punjab had witnessed unprecedented development during the SAD tenure, Badal said, “We developed the state systematically. We first developed the state’s irrigation network coupled with markets for smooth procurement of foodgrains.”
He added that SAD was also responsible for making Punjab power surplus, besides building world-class roads and airports.