Amarinder hits back at PM for "politicising" Jallianwala tragedy
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of playing "dirty politics" after the PM claimed that the Congress leader skipped an official event marking the Jallianwala Bagh massacre's centenary as he was busy in "Congress parivar's bhakti".
Singh alleged that the central government had deliberately chosen to hold a "parallel event" instead of supporting the initiatives and programmes of the state government.
The event was organised in Amritsar on Saturday by the Centre and it was attended by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
Singh claimed in a statement that he had personally approached the prime minister several times over the last two years to seek support for ensuring that the occasion is commemorated in a befitting manner but the Centre had failed to respond suitably.
"Instead, the Modi government decided to hold its own event, quite evidently to score political brownie points in the backdrop of the Lok Sabha elections," he alleged.
"This was truly shocking considering that the prime minister is the chairman of the Jallianwala Bagh Trust," Singh said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the chief minister had on Saturday morning paid floral tributes at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar.
On Saturday afternoon, M Venkaiah Naidu visited Jallianwala Bagh and paid tributes to those killed in the massacre on April 13, 1919. The ceremony was organised by the Union Ministry of Culture.
Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and Punjab Cabinet Minister O P Soni were among others present at the function held in the afternoon.
At a poll rally on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, a town located on Punjab's border, Modi said Singh boycotted the function because he was busy in "Congress parivar's bhakti (appeasing the Gandhi family)".
Modi, at the same time, said that he had known Singh for a long time and never questioned his patriotism, but understood the kind of pressure which must have been put on the Congress leader for the "Parivar Bhakti".
"Shocked at your remarks in Kathua on Jallianwala Bagh @narendramodi Ji. You used a sombre occasion to play dirty politics, conveniently ignoring your own government's decision to hold a parallel event instead of extending support to my govt, which we'd been requesting for 2 yrs," Singh tweeted.
"Unlike the BJP, the Congress leadership does not believe in dictating terms to its state governments," Singh said in his statement, countering Modi's remark that he did not attend the Centre's event under pressure from his party high command.
"These things happen in the BJP, which you, Mr Modi, are running in your typical dictatorial style," he alleged.
Singh claimed it did not befit a prime minister of the country to stoop so low in order to woo voters and urged Modi to refrain from demeaning the high office.
Singh also exhorted the prime minister not to exploit the martyrdom of victims of the massacre, or of the soldiers dying everyday at the borders or in ISI-backed terror attacks such as in Pulwama, for furthering his and his party's political ambitions.
He condemned Modi for allegedly trying to mislead the people with this "politically motivated falsehoods" and claimed the PM had insulted the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh, "first by not being present at any of the commemorative events and then by choosing to politicise the occasion".
The Congress leader said that while Modi was busy in his usual, dirty political games, he was at the memorial for the state-level event marking the centenary.
Singh said that after leading the state at the commemorative events in Amritsar, he immediately rushed to another event organised by The Tribune Trust in Chandigarh.
A Cabinet Minister (O P Soni) was appointed to be present at the Central government's function, which was attended by the vice president, he said, adding that all the necessary protocols were duly followed.