The Punjab Congress has lambasted Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsmirat Kaur for their immature and reckless assault on Rahul Gandhi on the 1984 riots and drugs issues, saying the AICC Vice President’s speech in the University of Berkley, USA, had evidently ruffled many feathers, especially the BJP and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, which were now trying to take refuge in frivolities and falsehoods. The attack mounted on Rahul by the SAD leaders came close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s desperate attempt to counter the well substantiated charges made by the Congress leader against it, said Punjab Congress leaders in a statement issued here on Wednesday. Led by PPCC President Sunil Jakhar, in a joint statement, Congress MLAs O P Soni, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Sukh Sarkaria, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Hardayal Singh Kamboj and Kuljit Singh Nagra, PPCC Vice-President Kewal Singh Dhillon and several DCC presidents stated that Sukhbir and Harsmirat, along with their SAD, were clearly trying to come to the rescue of the rattled BJP, which was completely cornered by Rahul’s hard-hitting and on-the-face criticism of the party’s undemocratic functioning and sweeping failure on all major counts.The Badals seemed to have forgotten that their attempt to rake up the 1984 riots issue during the Punjab assembly polls, held earlier this year, had completely backfired, with the people seeing through the devious efforts of the BJP-SAD combine to divert public attention from the prevailing situation in the state, said the DCC presidents.
Despite their failure to mislead the people on the 1984 riots issue, the BJP and SAD continue to raise the matter whenever they find themselves in a hole, as has happened in the wake of Rahul’s powerful speech, they added.The SAD has been adopting the same tactic on the issue of drugs, said the Punjab Congress, adding that despite the rampant prevalence of drugs in Punjab, the Badals had tried unsuccessfully to negate the existence of the critical problem.The fact of the matter, said the Punjab Congress, was that the Akalis themselves had been responsible for the terrorist bloodshed in the wake of Operation Blue Star, with Parkash Singh Badal hobnobbing with extremists during Punjab’s worst crisis. In fact, Parkash Badal himself invited people during Operation Blue Star and then took to his heels before the Army moved into the Golden Temple, they pointed out. What is more, Parkash Singh Badal had packed Sukhbir off to the United States during the peak of terrorism in Punjab, said the Punjab Congress leaders, adding that Sukhbir had no right to talk of terrorist violence, given his own family’s and party’s role in the entire affair. The same Akalis, said the Punjab Congress, were also responsible for the widespread drugs menace in the state, having allowed the drugs mafia to flourish unchecked in the past 10 years of their shameful misrule.
The PGIMER data they have been using to defame Rahul refers to the current situation in the state, which has been controlled in a big way by the Congress government under Captain Amarinder Singh, they pointed out.With what face are the former deputy chief minister Sukhbir and his wife, Union Food Processing Minister Harsmirat Kaur, talking of the 1984 riots and drugs, the they asked.Sukhbir’s and Harsmirat’s remarks in response to Rahul’s speech smacked of sheer desperation to help BJP save its face against the onslaught unleashed by Rahul, whose fact-filled speech was a total contrast to the senseless replies of BJP leaders, said the Punjab Congress leaders. After failing to come up with a coherent and meaningful response to Rahul’s much acclaimed speech, the BJP, supported by SAD, had started resorting to political gimmickry, they added.It was hilarious, said the DCC presidents, to see the same parties, which do not tire of dismissing Rahul as immature, firing salvos from all sides in a bid to protect their global image, which had been severely dented by the AICC Vice President’s Berkley speech.