Chandigarh: Strongly condemning union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal for her provocative remarks, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday warned the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as well as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against inciting violence, saying any such move would not only backfire on them but would also cause irrevocable damage to the state.
Urging restraint in the run-up to the assembly polls, Captain Amarinder also urged the Election Commission to take serious note of such statements and initiate stern action to crack down on all disruptive elements to prevent the Punjab elections from spiraling into a vortex of violence.
Both SAD and AAP have been engaged in violent skirmishes over the past few days, triggering apprehension of escalation and spread of violence in the state as the Assembly polls draw closer.
Harsimrat’s statement that AAP workers `will not stay alive if chief minister Parkash Singh Badal told SAD workers to turn violent’ was highly inflammatory and designed to stir violent unrest in the state, which the Akalis could then exploit to create fear in the minds of the voters, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the series of clashes between AAP and SAD workers in the past few days endorsed his worst fears about Punjab heading for a violent election.
With the central government having warned the state police of terror and communal attacks vitiating the atmosphere ahead of the polls, the situation was already tense and extremely volatile, Captain Amarinder pointed out, exhorting all parties to direct their workers to counter the nefarious designs of terrorists and gangsters for the state by remaining peaceful and exercising control.
Instead of instigating party workers, Harsmirat should try to defuse the situation by urging them to stay calm, said Captain Amarinder, adding that radical elements would otherwise get the opportunity to exploit the tensions in the state to create widespread violence.
He also deplored incidents of stone and shoe throwing at the Badals, calling upon the people to vent their anger against the Akali leadership by exercising their vote judiciously instead of resorting to violent and provocative acts. “These elections are your biggest opportunity to get rid of the corrupt and criminal Badal sarkar,” Captain Amarinder told the people, asking them not to waste the opportunity by diverting attention through violence.