Maghi mela witnesses clash of titans


Staff member
Muktsar January 15:

The historic Maghi Mela on Punjab here turned out to be the real battleground for political posturing among the three key players in the State politics-Sukhbir Singh Badal, Captain Amarinder Singh and Manpreet Singh Badal-all of them blowing the electoral bugle in their own fashion.

Shiromani Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal thundered to inflict crushing defeat on his arch rival Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress, while former Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal vowed to take the issue of development to everybody's doorstep. The crowd pulled by him was much bigger than that attending the meeting of the Congress leaders. Captain Amarinder reiterated he would bring all Akalis to justice for harassing the Congress workers.

The Maghi Mela in Punjab is an annual feature where respect is paid to martyrs but it finally ends up as an occasion where political parties show their strength by organising conferences. Since the State Assembly election is due in February 2012, all the parties had gone the extra mile to score points over others in terms of mobilising the crowd.

Former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal showed his strength by organising a huge gathering, which outshone those of the SAD and the Congress. "I am happy to say that the people have taken my words seriously," said a beaming Manpreet, who was expelled from the SAD last year following differences over the issue of fiscal reforms. The SAD was quick to add that the crowd in his function was not spontaneous, but had been brought through allurements.

"The people of Punjab want that the pace of development should be maintained at any, and hence, they would give one more chance to the SAD-BJP government, which has ushered in an era of all round progress in the State," said Sukhbir. Disagreeing to the claims of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that the people could no longer be fooled by the Akalis now. "They have seen what the SAD-BJP government has done in the past four years," quipped Captain Amarinder, who was after a long time seen sharing dais with his arch foe in the Congress, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Captain Amarinder also vowed to bring all Akalis to justice if the Congress were voted to power. "I have nothing personal against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, but would certainly ensure that the Akalis are brought to justice for their excesses against the Congress workers," added Captain Amarinder. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said that the party was above any individual and placing personal opinions above the considered view of the whole party was unacceptable.

"Leaving the party treating oneself wise than the organization is ingratitude," he said in an apparent reference to Manpreet Singh Badal. In a veiled attack on former Finance Minister and his nephew Manpreet Singh Badal, Chief Minister Badal said: "If one has too strong an ego to obey the party discipline, he or she should never join a party." He pointed out that he had been confronted with several compelling circumstances in his political career spanning over fifty years where he had always ignored even his family ties and personal relations in the interest of the party.