While the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) held political conferences on the occasion of Shaheedi Jor Mela in Kapurthala Monday, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) gave it a miss.
The mela marked the 127th death anniversary of Sant Beer Singh Naurangabadi (renowned religious leader of the area) in Thatta village of Sultanpur Lodhi.
Although local SAD leader and former finance minister Upinderjit Kaur was present at the event, she only took part in the religious function.
Despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express to get her views, Upinderjit Kaur did not pick her phone. The absence of SAD from the event came as a big surprise for the people as till a few years back the party use to organise its political conference which even Chief Minister Badal would attend.
Congress and AAP however managed to put up an impressive show. While Congress MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi, Navtej Singh Cheema, managed to organised a show focusing more on youth participants, AAP was also not far behind.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief Charanjit Singh Channi demanded the Punjab and Haryana High Court monitor the probe looking into the sudden rise of gangs and also expressed the apprehension of these gangs being used by the ruling Akali Dal in the 2017 assembly elections to create tension in the state.
He said that DGP Suresh Arora himself had admitted the presence of 55 gangs in the state and that out of the 423 gangsters more than 100 were operating from the prisons. He alleged that these gangs had proliferated under direct political patronage as pictures of several of them had appeared in the media with the senior Akali Dal leaders and prisons are considered safe havens for these anti-social elements.
Later addressing the media, Channi said that the Election Commission of India should also take strong notice of the gangs in Punjab and immediately instruct the political parties to refrain from these anti social elements.
Lashing out at AAP, Channi said that the party is projecting novices as its senior leaders. Other than him, leaders such as Sunil Jakhar, Manpreet Singh Badal, Hans Raj Hans, Joginder Mann and Navtej Cheema also addressed the gathering.
Those who spoke from AAP’s side, included state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Bhagawant Mann. Like the Congress, they also spoke on ‘criminal gangs of Punjab, farmers’ suicides and drug issues.