The war of words that broke out between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on social media over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre continued on Sunday. If Amarinder had levelled accusations against Harsimrat’s great-grandfather on Saturday, on Sunday, the minister attacked him over his absence from an official event marking the Jallianwala Bagh massacre’s centenary.
The event was organised in Amritsar on Saturday by the Centre and was attended by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Amarinder has alleged that the Central government deliberately chose to hold a “parallel event” instead of supporting the initiatives and programmes of the state government.
At a poll rally on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, a town located on Punjab’s border, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Amarinder boycotted the function because he was busy in Congress parivar’s bhakti (appeasing the Nehru-Gandhi family).
After Modi’s remarks, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal also targeted the Punjab chief minister over the issue.
“Shocked at @ capt_amarinder’s refusal to join the country in paying tributes to Jallianwala Bagh martyrs. Was it not a matter of pride that the country was saluting sons & daughters of Punjab who were martyred so that we could live free lives?,” the SAD president tweeted.
“You @ capt_amarinder proved your care for martyrs by boycotting national function headed by the Vice President of India… Sad you cheapened 100th anniversary of massacre by holding parallel function of PPCC. Martyr families won’t forgive this insult,” Harsimrat said in a tweet.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Amarinder Singh had on Saturday morning paid floral tributes at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar. The function organised by the Centre was organised in the afternoon that day.
Amarinder lashed out at the Akali leadership for “trying to politicise the Jallianwala Bagh centenary, quite patently at the behest of their political masters the BJP”.
“Notwithstanding the fact that elections in India have, over the years, become a playground for no-holds barred battles, it was shameful that the SAD, at the bidding of the BJP leadership, was exploiting the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs to woo voters,” he tweeted.
“The Badal clan, including Harsimrat, had reduced themselves to being puppets in the hands of the BJP leaders,” he said.
“The BJP and its allies were bereft of any constructive electoral agenda, and were thus resorting to all kinds of falsehoods and engaging in petty, low-level politics in a frantic effort to grab power,” the senior Congress leader said in a statement.
Harsimrat also put out a video on her Twitter account, attacking Singh, the scion of erstwhile Patiala Royals, on the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy issue.”When will u learn lesson from history @ capt_amarinder? Or you covering up ur grandfather’s role in supporting the man who ordered Jallianwala Bagh massacre? Pl watch this video to refresh memory about how Bhupinder Singh cosied up to Gen Michael O’Dwyer and insulted the martyrs,” she tweeted.
Amarinder, however, asked the Union minister to spend her time and energy on learning history instead of expending all of it in launching Twitter tirades against him.
He said the Bathinda MP, in a desperate bid to mislead the people of Punjab and woo their votes for the Lok Sabha elections, has posted a series of factually incorrect tweets on his grandfather.