Chandigarh: Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh today accused AAP and SAD of exploiting Sikh sentiments by raking up the 1984 riots with an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
“The Akalis have been ruling Punjab for nearly 10 years, and AAP has now been in power in Delhi for two years. But neither party even thought of the issue till this moment, when elections in Punjab are round the corner,” he said.
The Akalis have a history of raising the issue only during election time and immediately forgetting all about it the moment elections are over, Amarinder said.
He said Punjab is gripped by a “host of serious problems”, ranging from unemployment to drug menace, declining industrial and economic growth, and an agrarian crisis among others. “Yet, all these parties want to talk about is an issue which has absolutely no relevance for people today.” The state Congress chief made it clear that he was a staunch opponent of Operation Bluestar, adding that the 1984 riots were the “darkest chapter” in Sikh history.
He said that though he had resigned from the Parliament and the Congress over the riots issue, it was time now for Punjab to move forward.
Charging AAP, which had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking reopening of the anti-Sikh riot cases in the next three months, with “brazen opportunism”, Amarinder said that if Arvind Kejriwal’s party had been sincere in its intentions it would not have waited for the Punjab polls to take up the matter.
Amarinder also blamed the Modi government for transforming the country’s borders into a “war zone”, dismissing as “totally contemptuous”, BJP chief Amit Shah’s statement that the country’s borders were “more secure” today than ever.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief was reacting to Shah’s statement at the Punjabi Suba celebrations in Amritsar on Tuesday.
Shah had attacked the previous UPA dispensation on the issue of border security, saying that the Narendra Modi government has secured the borders.
“Shah seemed to be totally and comfortably oblivious of the fact that border areas were being subjected to unwarranted and unprovoked assault from across the Line of Control (LoC) every day, leaving both soldiers and civilians dead or injured.
“The entire Jammu border area has become a war zone, thanks to the thoughtless and weak defence policies of the Modi government,” Amarinder said.
All that the government, through Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, was interested in was to take political mileage from the surgical strikes, alleged the PPCC president.
“The escalation of tension at the border is a clear sign that the situation is fast getting out of control and needs to be addressed immediately, before it snowballs into a full-fledged war,” he warned.
Amarinder said New Delhi needed to engage diplomatically with Islamabad to resolve the border issues and restore peace, in the interest of the nation’s security and the safety of its people.
Instead of engaging with opposition parties to find a meaningful solution to the festering border issue, the Modi government was going all out to “seize political advantage” from the situation, which it was “deliberately allowing to aggravate,” he added.
He said the Congress was always ready to support and cooperate with the government in ensuring peaceful resolution of the border tensions. PTI
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