Punjab Congress blames Akalis for black flags shown to PM
Chandigarh, Jan 1 (IANS) The Punjab Congress Sunday blamed the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal for some people showing black flags to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the name of Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal bill crusade, as he came out of the holiest of Sikh shrines, Harmandar Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar.
The prime minister was shown black flags by a group of 30-35 protestors as he came out of the Sikh shrine after offering prayers early Sunday on the first day of the New Year. They shouted pro-Anna and pro-Jan Lokpal bill slogans but could not come anywhere near the prime minister.
Condemning the incident, Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh said that it was unfortunate that a holy place was used 'at the behest of the Akalis'.
'This whole episode seems to be the handiwork of the disgruntled and frustrated Akali-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leadership which wanted to gain cheap publicity. Some protestors, who were obviously Akali-BJP workers, had not only shown disrespect to a devout Sikh like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but had also violated the sacred sanctity of the Darbar Sahib,' he said.
Amarinder said that even Team Anna had distanced itself from the black flags protest against the prime minister and blamed the Akalis for 'stage-managing' it.
'It was simply the handiwork of the Akalis for seeking cheap publicity to make a handful of people to show black flags to the prime minister using the name of social activist Anna Hazare,' he said.
He said that the Akalis had stooped to a new low in politics with this incident as they face imminent defeat in the ensuing assembly elections. A total of 117 assembly seats in Punjab go to polls Jan 30.
'This was done only for scoring petty political points even if it meant violating the sacred maryada in the process. The Akalis will never be forgiven for this incident,' he added.