Punjab Government on the occasion of Eid announced Malerkotla to be its 23rd district. The announcement was made by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh after a nod by entire cabinet. The decision to make a new district was discussed earlier during the Punjab cabinet meet.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was quick to give a communal angle to this development. In a tweet criticising Punjab Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said
“Any distinction on the basis of religion and religion is contrary to the basic spirit of the Constitution of India. Presently, the formation of Malerkotla (Punjab) is a reflection of the divisive policy of the Congress.”
The statement of Chief Minister Yogi saw Punjab respending to his communal remarks in a single tone of condemnation. Not only was he trolled on twitter, the politicians in Punjab condemned his remarks rising above the party lines.
Captain Amrinder singh responded to Yogi’s remarks with a warning to stay away from Punjab’s matters. Captain said,
“What does @myogiadityanath know of Punjab’s ethos or Malerkotla, whose relationship with Sikhi & our Gurus is known to every Punjabi? And what does he know of Indian Constitution, which is being brazenly trampled every day by his own government in UP?”
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Doctor Daljit Cheema said that Yogi Adityanath’s tweet is unfortunate and Chief Minister of one state should not interfere in working of Chief Minister of other state. Cheema said that Yogi isn’t aware of history of Malerkotla with Sikhs and how Nawab stood by Guru Sahib’s sahibzaadas.
Echoing in the same sentiment Aam Aadmi Party’s Gurmeet Hayer hit our strongly saying that BJP has a communal nature and wherever they go they try to play Hindu- Muslim card. He said that such tactics won’t work in Punjab.
Other congress MLA Raj Verka said that Yogi needs to get himself treated as he has lost his mental balance. MLA said that Yogi has a problem with Muslims, Christians and Sikhs and that this is not new.
The Sikh opinion on Amrinder Singh’s decision is however not that of bigotry but Sikhs see his politics behind the move. The district is made just before elections rings bells in Sikh circles as Malerkotla holds important place in Sikh History. It is seen as an attempt by Captain to gain Sikh votes as he has not done well on many other Sikh issues including those of firing incidents and Sacrilege.
Kuldip Singh , a senior-most professor of political science at Guru Nanak Dev University opined “This is a known fact that the government is lagging behind on most of the promises it made ahead of 2017 assembly elections in the state so in view of government’s failure to deliver its promises made in 2017, it is making an attempt to deliver something visible focusing on sacrilege issue while apprehending that fulfilling this promise will cover up their failure”.
“This act will transform their sentiments in favour of Congress for recognizing the historical contribution of a Muslim ruler Sher Mohammad Khan towards Guru Gobind Singh “ he said.
If we look at the vote share in Malerkotla we find that only city has highest Muslim population whereas the Tehsil and block still has Sikh majority. The Sikh vote in the area could prove strategic in the upcoming polls.
Congress meanwhile maintains that making Malerkotla a district was pre poll promise of congress and it is not an out of box development. Many congress men agree that party has failed to do much on its promise of curbing drug menace and hence this is seen as face saving act or a move to garner votes.
A manifesto promise or not, Punjab has proved today that it stands against bigotry and division in the name of religion. Punjab truly is a home for all religions and equality.