Baba Bakal: The annual Rakhar Punia festival turned into a platform for whipping up religious sentiments for chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday with the Akali Dal patriarch calling leaders of recently-formed Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) “modern day mahants”.
Ahead of Patiala and Talwandi Sabo byelections, the festival at Baba Bakala, near Amritsar, provided the CM an opportunity to cash in on the HSGMC row, which threatened to snowball into a major law and order problem in Haryana and Punjab, and Badal used the opportunity to hit out at HSGMC supporters.
Without naming anyone, Badal called the HSGMC leaders “mahants.” “Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is duty-bound to thwart every attempt by ‘modern day mahants’ to take control of our revered shrines in Haryana,” he said. Before the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 came into force, mahants were controlling the gurdwaras in the country.
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