Sukhbir Singh Badal meets Pranab Mukerjee, wants Congress declared 'anti-national'

New Delhi: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said the Congress was playing a “dangerous game” for political gains, and accused the party of encouraging “radical” elements to create disturbances in his state.

President Pranab Mukherjee is greeted by Sukhbir Singh Badal,  Deputy Chief Mininster of Punjab, who met him along with a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday. pic/PTI
President Pranab Mukherjee is greeted by Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Mininster of Punjab, who met him along with a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday. pic/PTI

Badal, a top leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, also met President Pranab Mukherjee and said the Congress was in league with “secessionist forces” in Punjab and should be declared an “anti-national party”. “The Congress party is playing a dangerous role. It is encouraging and supporting radical and secessionist activities in the border state,” Badal said, recalling that Punjab had paid very dearly for the same brand of politics in the 1980s when the state was reeling under militancy.

Addressing the media here ahead of his meeting with Mukherjee, Badal also targeted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for turning a blind eye to party leaders extending “overt and covert” support to political leaders engaged in radical politics in Punjab. He said that under Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress was trying to take Punjab back to its dark days, and sought derecognition of the party. He slammed the Congress for extending tacit support to the November 10 ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of the Sikh community) at Amritsar organised by political outfits preaching radical politics. Badal said the “Congress helped to plan the gathering, provided logistic support and was also part of the team which drafted the secessionist resolutions which were read out on the occasion”.

He also said they have written to the Centre asking it to block websites and social media sites carrying pro-Khalistani propaganda. He said the state government has acted against some such websites by blocking them. “We apprised the president that the Congress was disturbing peace in Punjab,” he told the media, adding, “We requested the president to declare the Congress an anti-national party as it was working against the unity of the country.” Meanwhile, the Congress on Saturday dismissed the allegations. Senior Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh held a press conference and said the Akali Dal leader was trying to hide “failure of his own government to maintain law and order”.

Singh said that 12,000 acres of cotton crop in the state was destroyed due to supply of “spurious seeds and pesticides”. He said many farmers had committed suicide and youth were without jobs.

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