Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi singled him out and did not criticise Akali leaders, including Union minister Harsimrat Badal, for not attending an event of the central government to mark the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Singh’s remarks came a day after Modi flayed him at a rally in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir for giving the event a miss.
“Neither Parkash Singh Badal nor Sukhbir Badal, not even Harsimrat Badal, who’s a minister in the Modi government, deemed it fit to pay homage to Jallianwala Bagh martyrs,” the Punjab chief minister said in a statement.
Singh said he had been part of a series of events at the Jallianwala Bagh national memorial over the last two days. Yet Modi, “who himself chose to keep away from this occasion of national importance”, criticized him.
Instead of supporting the state government’s commemorative programmes, the Centre organised a parallel event to mark the Jallianwala Bagh centenary, he said, adding “Modi’s actions and words are part of his government’s persistent discrimination against the Congress government in Punjab”.
Singh alleged that by attacking him on the Jallianwala Bagh issue, Modi wa trying to further his political ambitions.
“The Sikh community, however, is not likely to be taken in by such petty acts of omission and commission,” he added, asking the prime minister to come out with a constructive agenda to garner votes in the state.
“Punjab, with a strong Congress government at its helm, posed a serious challenge to Modi’s ambitions, making it a target of his unsavoury and petty assaults,” Singh claimed.
The prime minister’s continuous refusal to make funds available for the 550th Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak Dev, scheduled to be celebrated in November this year, was in line with his partisan approach, he alleged.
The chief minister said he would not be surprised if the Modi government had planned a separate event to mark the Prakash Parv also, in an effort to score one-upmanship on this most significant occasion.
Singh also alleged that PM Modi has been persistently trying to undermine the Congress-led governments in various states in a “desperate” bid to win the Lok Sabha elections.
Describing Modi as a “barefaced credit-seeker”, he alleged, “It is a habit of the BJP-led government at the Centre to try and usurp the credit for various initiatives and development works launched or undertaken by previous dispensations.