Chandigarh: An all-party meeting held at the residence of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh resolved to jointly celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi.
The state government has planned a mega event at Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak spent over 18 years of his life and attained enlightenment. It was observed at the meeting that even on earlier occasions, all such celebrations were organised by the state government and leaders of all political parties had jointly participated in it. The state government will set up its own stage on the occasion despite an appeal from the Akal Takht jathedar to join the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in celebrating the historic event.
"It was unfortunate that certain political parties had this time decided to break from the tradition and exploit this pious and historic occasion to promote their vested interests," an official spokesperson said. The meeting resolved that the state government will invite leaders of all political parties, both state and national, for the November 12 function. In keeping with the religious sentiment of the event, all speeches will be restricted to propagating the Guru’s philosophy and his life, the spokesperson said.
Besides the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, and state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar were present at the meeting. Others who attended the meeting included Harbans Singh Kandhola (SAD 1920), Bhupinder Sambhar and Hardev Arshi (CPI), Gurparamjit Kaur Taggar (CPM), Sewa Singh Sekhwan (SAD Taksali), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi (Sant Samaj), Jasbir Singh Garhi (BSP), Manjit Singh Bilaspur (AAP) and Harpal Singh Cheema (leader of opposition).
The CM said the state government had been keen for all parties and their representatives to join its main event, irrespective of different political ideologies. The historic occasion should have been kept above petty politics, he said, adding that he had also requested the Prime Minister for a single function, to which he had agreed but things eventually did not work out. Lashing out at the Akalis for politicising the issue, the CM said he was in favour of joint celebrations from the outset and, in keeping with this sentiment, will be addressing the gathering from the stage at the event being organised by the Union government at Dera Baba Nanak on November 9.
Didn’t get invite: SAD, BJP
The SAD and its ally BJP claimed that they didn’t get any invite for the all-party meeting. The allies hit back at Amarinder for showing his team of “courtiers” from little known parties at the meeting. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said chief minister had revealed his true colours and finally come out in the open to challenge the supremacy of Akal Takht by defying its edict to participate in the joint celebrations being organised by the SGPC.