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Badals using SGPC as pawn to further their narrow political ends: Punjab minister

Punjab Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Sunday accused the Badals of using the SGPC as a "pawn" to further their narrow political ends and alleged they were seeking political mileage out of the 550th birth celebrations of the first Sikh Guru.




Randhawa said the Akali Dal, whose chief is Sukhbir Singh Badal, is "dragging the 550th Prakash Purab celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji into a controversy every now and then besides misusing the SGPC."

The Cabinet minister, who is the state government representative on the coordination panel of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for finalising the celebration programme, said the Badals ought to have understood the significance of the event and cooperated with the state dispensation in putting up a "united face".

"But by choosing to grind their own axe by using the SGPC as a pawn to further their narrow political ends is a solid proof in itself that the Badals are out to seek political mileage from the occasion as pious as the Prakash Purab celebrations thereby displaying the least bit of regard for the glorious traditions of the Sikh Panth," Randhawa said in a statement here.

Reacting to Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal''s statement that no development has happened in Dera Baba Nanak constituency, he said projects worth Rs 117 crore were under way there.

Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa alleged in a separate statement that the Badal family was "creating hurdles" in the joint celebration of the Prakash Purab.

He said the celebrations should be organised jointly by the SGPC and the Punjab government as proposed by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.

Both Punjab government and SGPC have been at loggerheads at the joint celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev next month.

The SGPC has decided to hold the main event at a stadium near Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district on November 12, but the state government wanted to hold it near a "Tent City" coming up there.

Last month, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described the SGPC as a "tool" in the hands of the Akali Dal. Reacting to it, Sukhbir Singh Badal said the apex gurdwara body was not an organisation of Akali Dal but a democratically elected body.

Sukhbir Badal also asked the ruling Congress to not "create a new history" and asserted that major religious events had always been organised by the SGPC. 

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