An all-party meeting held at the residence of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday resolved to jointly celebrate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nank Dev Ji by participating in the state-level function being organized by the Punjab Government on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi.The meeting regretted that certain political parties, for their vested interest, had decided to hold parallel celebrations on this pious occasion, sending a wrong message to the Sikh community across the world. It was observed at the meeting that even on earlier occasions, all such celebrations were organized by the state government, and leaders of all political parties had jointly participated in it. It was unfortunate that certain political parties had this time decided to break from the tradition, and exploit this pious and historic occasion, to promote their vested interests.The meeting resolved that the state government will invite leaders of all political parties, both state and national, for the November 12 function. In keeping with the religious sentiment of the event, all speeches will be restricted to propagating the Guru’s philosophy and his life, an official spokesperson said after the meeting.Besides the Chief Minister, the ruling Congress was represented at the party by Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sunil Jakhar. Others who attended the meeting were Harbans Singh Kandhola (SAD - 1920), Bhupinder Sambhar and Hardev Arshi (CPI), Gurparamjit Kaur Taggar (CPI-M), Sewa Singh Sekhwan (SAD Taksali), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi (Sant Samaj), Jasbir Singh Garhi (State President BSP), Manjit Singh Bilaspur (AAP) and Harpal Singh Cheema (LoP).The Chief Minister said the state government had been keen for all parties and their representatives to join its main events, irrespective of their different political ideologies.
The historic occasion should have been kept above petty politics, he said, adding that he had also requested the Prime Minister for a single function, to which the latter had agreed but things eventually did not work out.Lashing out at the Akalis for politicizing the issue, the Chief Minister said he was in favour of joint celebrations from the outset and, in keeping with this sentiment, would be personally addressing the gathering from the stage at the event organized by the Government of India at Dera Baba Nanak on November 9.His government, said Captain Amarinder, had initiated a multitude of projects to commemorate the historic occasion, including the Jagat Guru Nanak Open University at Patiala, National Institute of Interfaith Studies, Pind Babe Nanak, among others. The state government has also asked the Centre for a Medical College at Kapurthala to mark the momentous event, he added.Cabinet Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the decision taken at the all-party meeting for joint celebration would sent a positive message to the people, especially the Sikhs. The state government tried to offer various options to SGPC but they did not agree as they seemed determined to go it alone, he added.Sekhwan recalled that when he was PR minister in the Akali government, all events were organized by the state government, but now they were crying foul, thus clearly exposing their double standards.Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi said though SGPC and Akal Takht had the right to celebrate religious functions like this, they were both unfortunately no longer independent bodies and were completely in the grip of one family. The sanctity of the `hukum namaas’ issued by the Akal Takht are under threat, he said, adding that thanks to the politics by the BJP and SAD, the jathas going through the Kartarpur Corridor would be divided on political lines, triggering confusion among the pilgrims. Nanak kept uniting us but politics has divided us, he said.