NEW DELHI—In a major setback for the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), BJP-led central government of India today withdrew the Z+ category security cover of its president Sukhbir Badal’s brother-in-law Bikram Majithia, two days after Badal expressed doubt over the fairness of the Bihar poll result.
BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) retained power in Bihar with the saffron party winning 74 seats despite anti-incumbency wave in the state. Replying to a media query in Amritsar on Wednesday (November 18), Sukhbir also joined the issue of polls’ fairness as it is being alleged that the BJP managed the electronic voting machines in its favour in Bihar. He did so, a day after Giani Harpreet Singh, SGPC-appointed acting jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib, said, “Modi regime is EVM government, not democratic”.
With the statement of Sukhbir, the SAD (B) and BJP got face to face for this first time in the history. Withdrawal of the security cover is being considered as a punishment awarded by the central government to its former ally for criticizing it.
The SAD (B) deeply fumed over it. Party spokesman Daljit Cheema said, “Bikram Majithia’s security cover had been withdrawn because the SAD (B) had stood firmly with farmers against the central Agricultural laws as well as denial of official language status to Punjabi in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the SAD (B) had voted against the central Agri Bills in parliament besides quitting the union cabinet and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
“It is clear that Majithia is a victim of political vendetta. The SAD (B) however will not be cowed down by such tactics and will continue to stand with farmers and Punjabis against the central laws as well as any other issue which weakens the federal structure or is intrinsically anti- Punjab. The SAD (B) has a 100 year old history of standing up to safeguard the rights of the farmers and the poor and downtrodden. It will never shirk away from this responsibility”, he said.
Speaking about Majithia’s security case, the SAD (B) leader said Z + category security cover had been given to him in 2010 during Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule on the basis of threat perception.
Shedding tears over the security withdrawal, the SAD (B) has once again raked up the non-issue of threat to Punjab’s peace.
“The case was cleared by then home minister P Chidambaram who was known to be a hard task master on the basis of credible reports. We would like to know what has changed suddenly that the ten year old cover was withdrawn on the basis of a single line order. Majithia continues to be targeted by Pakistan based anti-national elements and gangsters who have openly threatened to eliminate him. Even chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has recently talked about increased attempts of Pakistan’s ISI to revive terrorist activity in Punjab, particularly the Majha belt which shares a border with Pakistan. Majithia is from the Majha area. There have been seizures of drones and arms and ammunition. The law and order situation in Punjab, particularly the open license given to gangsters to operate at will from jails, is also known to everyone”, said Cheema.
Stating that such kind of politics did not bode well for peace in the State, he said “we have already seen how a senior left leader and Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu was murdered in Tarn Taran recently after his security cover was withdrawn”.
Stating the union home ministry would be held responsible for any untoward incident following the withdrawal Majithia’s security cover, the SAD (B) leader said this kind of action which was clearly designed to brow beat opponents, was a new low in Indian politics.
He said, “While the security cover of Majithia, who was a senior political leader who was being targeted by anti- national elements had been withdrawn, the central government had given Y + security cover to film actress Kangana Ranaut”.
“Security should not be given on whims and fancies to people who sing the tune of the government. It is incumbent on the home ministry to explain on what grounds Majithia’s security cover has been withdrawn suddenly after the SAD stood up to the centre in support of the farming community”.