Advani upsets Sikhs by brandishing sword
13 May, 2009
NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani’s brandishing of a sword in the precincts of the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Monday has upset the Akali Dal, an umbrella organisation of Punjab-based Sikh political parties.
The act unnecessarily hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs just when nine of the Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab are going to polls.
Advani was presented a ‘kirpan’ (sword) and a ‘siropa’ as a gesture of welcome accorded to any dignitary visiting the temple. He, however, shocked all present by pulling out the sword and waving it in Sikhism’s holiest location.
Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President Avtar Singh conveyed his annoyance to the Akali Dal leadership over Advani’s act, and inquired why former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia did not stop him. Accompanying Advani to the Golden Temple was also BJP’s Navjot Singh Sidhu who is seeking re-election from Amritsar.
In a statement issued in Amritsar, the SGPC president said, “Advani should not have done it since it was not a political rally.”
The Akali Dal is already upset over both Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi broaching the issue of interlinking rivers at Sunday’s NDA rally in Ludhiana. The Punjab Assembly had unanimously rescinded the inter-state river water sharing agreement with Rajasthan and Haryana, since the agreement went against the prevailing mood in Punjab, which is to preserve all water for its agriculture instead of sharing it.