Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa and Congress candidate for Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-poll Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary along with several MLAs, former MLAs and senior party leaders visited various deras on Thursday to pay their obeisance.
They took blessings from Sant Baba Niranjan Dass at Dera Sachkhand Ballan, Sant Baba Nirmal Das at Dera Sant Baba Pritam Das Ji (Baba Jaure), Sant Baba Pargat Nath at Bhagwan Valmiki Yog Ashram (Rahimpur), and paid rich tributes at Dera Baba Murad Shah, Dera Baba Lal Badshah and Gurudwara Sri Malri Sahib.
They were accompanied by Congress Legislature Party Deputy Leader Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Jalandhar North MLA Avtar Singh Junior, Adampur MLA Sukhwinder Singh Kotli, Phillaur MLA Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, former MLAs Kanwaljit Singh Lally and Chaudhary Surinder Singh, and Nakodar constituency in charge Dr Navjot Dahiya.
LoP Partap Singh Bajwa said the Congress party and Chaudhary family had been associated with Dera Sachkhand Ballan for decades and it was none other than Master Gurbanta Singh, who had laid the foundation stone of Sant Hari Dass Satsang Hall at Ballan in 1976.
But the newly minted AAP leaders were now doing the rounds of the sacred religious places with desperation to get some votes as they were forced to resort to political opportunism due to the forthcoming by-election in Jalandhar.
However, he said, the people were fed up with them after one year of misgovernance and were ready to get rid of them at the first opportunity. At Dera Sachkhand Ballan, the leaders discussed with Sant Baba Niranjan Dass the establishment of state-of-the-art Sri Guru Ravidass Bani Adhiyan (Research) Centre at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
They said the previous Congress government had released a cheque for Rs 25 crore, but in an attempt to take undue credit, the AAP government took back the released amount and made a show of sanctioning the grant again.
MLA Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary told Sant Niranjan Dass that he had raised the matter of the Rs 50 crore grant during the recently concluded budget session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. He said the last government had released the first installment of the grant, but after coming to power, the AAP government first stopped its release and then performed the charade of sanctioning the same amount for the same project to claim all the credit.
The leaders also raised the long pending issue of naming Adampur airport after Guru Ravidass and said that the AAP government should immediately move forward to complete the process, respecting the sentiments of people of Doaba.
MLA Chaudhary said Member of Parliament Late Santokh Singh Chaudhary had raised this demand in Lok Sabha and before the Union civil aviation minister several times over the last few years.
Moreover, he said, during the tenure of the previous Congress government in Punjab in 2017, the Vidhan Sabha had passed a resolution reiterating the request to name the domestic terminal of Adampur airport after Sri Guru Ravidass.
After paying obeisance at all the places, Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary said the Congress party was a secular party and respected all the faiths. She said the experience of peace and serenity at all the deras and gurudwaras was unforgettable, adding that every effort should be made to propagate the message of love, compassion and brotherhood in the service of humanity.
We hope that all the deras will continue to shower their blessings on us, she said.