Sunday, 14 August, 2022
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Why is Harsimrat Kaur Badal so angry?

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Harsimrat Kaur Badal now says that foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj ticked off Navjot Singh Sidhu and he apologised to her.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Akali Dal leader and minister of food processing in the BJP government, has inserted herself into the eye of the storm by complaining to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj about her former colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu.

How could Sidhu, she asked, go to enemy Pakistan in his personal capacity, jhappi pao their army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, the man who is killing Indians on a daily basis? She said he is also playing with the sentiments of thousands of Sikhs by announcing that the Pakistanis will open a corridor leading to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara where Guru Nanak breathed his last.

Harsimrat now says that Swaraj ticked off Sidhu and he apologised to her. Right now, we aren’t going into why and whether a central minister can “tick off” a state minister. (Neither protocol, nor politics, permits it.) So, the question at hand is, Harsimrat Kaur Badal ko gussa kyon aa raha hai? Why is the lady so angry?

It seems to me that the irrepressible Sidhu has stolen a march on the Akali Dal. For years, the Badals staked claim to the fact that they were the rightful claimants to the Sikh vote. After all, Harsimrat’s father-in-law Parkash Singh Badal has been the chief minister of Punjab an incredible five times – he first became the CM in 1970 and his last stint was from 2012 to 2017. (The Akalis lost to the Congress in 2017.)


Also read: What is the Kartarpur corridor issue that made Navjot Singh Sidhu hug Pakistan army chief?


Harsimrat’s husband, Sukhbir Singh Badal, replaced his father as Akali Dal president in 2008 and she is the party’s chief representative in Delhi. So when Sidhu hugged and embraced the Pakistan army chief – and was in turn hugged and embraced by him, leading the rest of India to wonder if peace was in danger of breaking out between India and Pakistan – the Akalis clearly felt that the ground was slipping beneath their feet.

The old question remains: Why is Harsimrat Badal so upset?

First of all, the Akalis lost the election. Her brother Bikram Singh Majithia – and it is an open secret that the senior Badal isn’t particularly fond of him, but her husband is – is at the centre of a lot of speculation. The Akalis, who were in power for 10 years, have not been able to rid themselves of the taint of corruption regarding Punjab’s drug menace, much of which has to do with smuggling heroin from Pakistan.

Second, none other than Parkash Singh Badal as chief minister and Sukhbir Badal as deputy chief minister in 2013 had welcomed then-Pakistani Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for a ceremony to inaugurate the integrated border checkpost at Wagah-Attari border.


Also read: A hug is not a Rafale deal: Navjot Singh Sidhu on being embraced by Pakistan Army chief


If Pakistan wasn’t the enemy, at the time, how much worse could it be now? After all, the 2013 meeting had taken place barely five years after the Mumbai attacks, when Manmohan Singh was in power at the Centre.

Now, is this so-called ‘turncoat’ Sidhu, who had been in the BJP for 12 years and become a political player in Punjab only because of the BJP’s alliance with the Akali Dal, daring to steal a key plank and make peace with Pakistan?

Harsimrat may not have had much option but to write that letter to Sushma Swaraj. After all, none other than Congress leader and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had chastised Sidhu when he returned from Islamabad on the exact same grounds that Harsimrat is upset about today.

Lost in this silly political squabble is the Kartarpur Sahib corridor itself. The gurdwara is barely 3 km away from the international border. On a good day, when the air is clear, particularly religious Punjabis say they can see it. During Guru Nanak’s birth and death anniversaries, several are said to go and stand at the border and pray in the direction of the shrine.

You would imagine that a Pakistani gesture for peace and reconciliation would be received with gratitude and consideration from Delhi. Even if the Pakistanis were playing games, would it not be worthwhile to consider what Bajwa has said, and ask if the Pakistanis are serious about opening up Kartarpur Sahib on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak?

Imagine if the Pakistanis could actually create a corridor, fenced on both sides, which Indian Sikh pilgrims could access on certain days of the year. Imagine the kind of confidence-building measure that would be.


Also read: When attacking Sidhu, keep in mind Punjab’s most famous live-in couple


Instead, the silly point-scoring has left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. Remember that the first protocol on Kartarpur Sahib took place in 1974, when the Congress was at the helm.

Perhaps, it is time for the BJP and Sikhs of all political persuasions including Harsimrat Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu to take a step back and think what Baba Guru Nanak would have wanted. Would he have liked to divide Punjabi from Punjabi?

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4 COMMENTS

  1. She should not be so angry . It’s a issue which is at heart to every Indian particularly Sikhs . Serious and sincere efforts should be made to swap the portion of land so that Sikhs and other devotees can regularly visit Kartarpur now in Pakistan to pay respect to Guru Nanak Dev jee . His gospel was for all mankind . It will be a great homage to Great Guru who who said , ” There is no Hindu or Muslim , we are all human .”

  2. she is angry because Sidhu and Congress will get the credit for the diplomacy Sidhu played in the opening of the kartarpur corridor which would enable the Sikhs from India to travel to Pakistan to attend the 550 anniversary of the guru Nanak saheb in Pakistan. this is the main reason
    This will help Congress in the 2019 election in Punjab to sweep the 2019 elections getting all the seats.

  3. Barring Kashmir, of course, no Indian state has paid a higher price for India – Pakistan hostility than Punjab has. It has been deprived of heavy industry, has had the mortification if seeing other states, including Haryana, race ahead in development. Not just on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanakji or a few special occasions, it should be possible for devout Sikhs to visit Kartarpur Sahib all through the year, obviously without a visa, with normal security procedures. 2. One thing that jars completely is how dramatically people change their views, depending on whether they are in office or out of it. People keep track of these things, and they are not amused.

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