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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Kartarpur corridor turning into political battlefield


Kartarpur corridor turning into political battlefield

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak, October 7

The sanctity of the Kartarpur corridor is repeatedly being shredded to ribbons by over-zealous political parties eager to take credit for its opening after a seven-decade-long hiatus.

Sensing the corridor’s vote-catching potential, the passage has been turned into a battleground for indulging in political one-upmanship with both the Congress and SAD satraps eager to hold the fort. If the heightened political activity over the last few days at the corridor site is any indication, it’s clear that the SAD and the Congress has fielded their respective leaders there.

Amid the din, the name of a man who spent considerable time praying for the success of the venture is being forgotten. Former MLA and SAD stalwart Kuldeep Singh Wadala had formed the ‘Kartarpur Darshan Sanstha’ and for 18 long years, he had prayed every month at the place the ICP is being established.

On November 26 last year, when Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and CM Capt Amarinder Singh jointly laid the stone, Randhawa was quick to lambast Harsimrat after she threatened to hijack the proceedings from the dais by repeatedly extolling the achievements of the Modi government. The miniser even went to the extent of asking Naidu, “Mr Vice-President, is this a BJP managed function or is it dedicated to Guru Nanak? The better you ask Harsimrat to leave the stage the better it will be.”

A year down line, the political embers are still burning.

Two days ago, when Sukhbir and Harsimrat jointly questioned the Punjab Government’s wisdom in organising the 550th Gurpurb festivities, they invited the wrath of many Congress leaders.

When Harsimrat urged the Centre to name the Sultanpur Lodhi-Dera Baba Nanak road as ‘Guru Nanak Dev ji Marg’, PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla reminded her that since his department was constructing the road, it was the prerogative of the state government to ensure it was named in the Guru’s memory.

“Harsimrat should check her facts before speaking. The CM has already decided to name the road after Guru Nanak,” he retorted.

Singla on Monday said the CM had approved the construction of ‘Guru Nanak Dev Marg’ as part of which the decision had been taken to upgrade the 136.14-km road at a cost of Rs 96.15 crore besides widening it by 10 m.

Likewise, when Sukhbir claimed that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar never interfered with the 350th Gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna in 2017 and instead let the SGPC take over the entire proceedings, Tript Rajinder Bajwa reminded him that the function was held under the supervision of the Bihar government and the SGPC was assigned no role whatsoever. “Had the SGPC been incharge, Sukhbir and other SAD leaders would have been provided seats on the dais. However, everybody knows they were asked to sit among the general public.”

Parties ‘fielding’ leaders at site

If the heightened political activity over the last few days at the Kartarpur corridor is any indication, it is clear that SAD has fielded its president Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia at the site. Meanwhile, Cabinet Ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Vijay Inder Singla, a prominent Hindu face in the Cabinet, will lead the Congress charge.

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