Present situation in country a matter of grave concern: Parkash Singh Badal

Parkash Singh Badal, patron of the SAD, with son Sukhbir and daughter-in-law Harsimrat. Photo: PTI

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) stalwart Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said minorities have to be taken along to successfully run a government, asserting that all religions should be respected.

The remark came against the backdrop of criticism of the BJP, an old ally of the SAD, over the amended Citizenship Act and plans to implement a National Register of Citizens.

Addressing a rally here, Badal also expressed "grave concern" over the situation in the country.

"It is a matter of grave concern that the present situation in the country is not that good. I will say that all religions should be respected and take along minorities, take along your allies if you have to be successful in running the government so that all brothers (countrymen) consider themselves part of a family," Badal said.

"Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs brothers should embrace each other rather than we sow seeds of hatred," he added.

The SAD had earlier wanted Muslims to be included in the CAA, a legislation which seeks to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The Akalis, who are part of the NDA, even refused to contest the recently held Delhi Assembly polls after it was asked by the BJP to change its stand on the CAA.

Badal said those in power at the Centre and the states should ensure that the country was run strictly in accordance with secular democratic ethos as enshrined in the Constitution.

"It is written in our Constitution that our country will have secular and democratic rule," he said.

"Any deviation from the sacred principles of secularism can only weaken our country. Those in power at the state as well as others must work unitedly and tirelessly to safeguard, preserve and protect India as a secular democracy.

"This is the legacy we inherited from the great Guru Sahiban, saints and seers. And this is the legacy we must leave for the coming generations," Badal added.

The Akali leader lashed out at the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government for failing to keep poll promises, asking him either to honour the promises made to people or quit.

He also targeted senior leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, who were expelled from the party, saying they were given every post they desired for but still they chose to backstab the party at the instance of "anti-panthic" forces.

SAD chief Sukhbir Badal said the people would not allow Amarinder Singh's move to "break" the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to succeed.

He also accused the CM of "befooling" the people by making "false" promises in the name of the 'Dasam Pitah' (Tenth Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh).

The SAD chief alleged that electricity had become "expensive" in Punjab due to the "mismanagement and scams" of the Congress.

He added that Congress leaders had struck "underhand deals" with the management of the private thermal plants which resulted in a loss or Rs 4,100 crore to the state exchequer.

Sukhbir Badal claimed that power purchased at Rs 3 per unit was being sold to consumers at Rs 9 to Rs 10 per unit.

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