Would Have Taken Back Kartarpur Sahib From Pak In 1971 If...: PM In Punjab

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted had he been in power in 1971, he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from Pakistan before freeing their troops.

May 23, 2024 - 23:30
Would Have Taken Back Kartarpur Sahib From Pak In 1971 If...: PM In Punjab

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted had he been in power in 1971, he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from Pakistan before freeing their troops.

Addressing a rally in Punjab's Patiala - his first in the state - for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls on June 1, PM Modi said Punjab and the Sikh community have always been at the forefront of national-building efforts. He lambasted the current AAP government over issues of corruption and drug trade.

He called Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann only a 'kagazi Chief Minister' - a Chief Minister on paper.

PM Modi brought up the emotive issue of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last years of his life and a place sacred to Sikhs, and blamed the Congress for the country's Partition, saying they did it for the sake of power.

The Partition left Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan's Punjab, just a few kilometres away from the border with India. "For 70 years, we could have a 'darshan' of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara only with binoculars," he said.

An opportunity presented itself to take back the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in 1971 when more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before the Indian Army and "we had the trump card in our hands", he said.

"Had Modi been there at that time, he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from them and then freed their troops," he said.

"They (Congress) did not do that, but I did as much I could," the PM added, referring to the opening of the Kartapur Sahib Corridor in 2019 that made it easier for Sikh pilgrims to travel to the shrine.

Campaigning for Patiala candidate Preneet Kaur, the wife of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, PM Modi said he has come to seek the blessings in the land of Gurus "by bowing my head".

Other BJP candidates - Parampal Kaur Sidhu from Bathinda, Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot, and Gejja Ram Valmiki from the Fatehgarh Sahib seat - were also present on stage as PM Modi spoke, donning the traditional Sikh turban.

Punjab has led the country in various sectors, from agriculture to industry, he said. But, the current "fiercely corrupt" Bhagwant Mann government has changed all that, he added.

"Trade and industry are leaving Punjab while the drug trade is growing. The entire state government is running on debt." The government's writ does not run here while sand and drug mafia, and shooter gangs' rule, the prime minister said. "All ministers are enjoying and the 'kagazi Chief Minister' is always busy marking his presence in the 'Delhi darbar'. Can such people bring development to Punjab?" He also took a dig at the AAP and the Congress for fighting the Lok Sabha polls together in Delhi and against each other in Punjab.

"In Punjab, they are fighting against each other in elections just to show to people. Delhi's 'fiercely corrupt party' and the party which is guilty of anti-Sikh riots are enacting a drama of fighting against each other)," he said.

"But the truth is 'panja' (the Congress symbol) and 'jhadoo' (the AAP symbol) are two outfits, but the shop is the same. Over here they may give any statement (against each other), but in Delhi, both are dancing together. That is why, I urge people of Punjab to beware of them." He said the party that "betrayed" their guru Anna Hazare and can speak lies 10 times a day can never do any good to Punjab or its children.

PM Modi listed out steps taken by his government for the benefit of the Sikh community such as tax exemption on material used for making 'langar' and relaxing foreign donation norms to the Golden Temple. He further said his government had announced 'Veer Baal Diwas' to mark the martyrdom of the tenth Sikh guru's sons.

"But some people do not understand what the 'Veer Baal Diwas' announcement meant. I feel sad that certain people have no understanding of it. I wanted every child to know the sacrifices of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh."

He further said his government brought Sikh families and 'saroops' of Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan. "I have blood relations with you," said PM Modi, adding that one of the 'panj pyare' (five beloved ones) of Guru Gobind Singh belonged to Gujarat.

He said as the Gujarat Chief Minister, he rebuilt a gurdwara, where first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev once halted, which was damaged in an earthquake. "Modi does not do it for votes. Modi's head bows before the sacrifices of Sikh Gurus," he said.

Keeping up the attack on the INDIA bloc, he said, "They neither have a leader, nor intent", and that their biggest aim is the appeasement of their vote bank while the BJP's mantra is 'sabka sath, sabka vikas'.

Slamming the Congress for opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, PM Modi said Sikh families were persecuted in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and his government decided to give them citizenship. "It is not for vote bank," he stated.

He said the INDIA bloc lies to farmers. "They made a promise with farmers but did not fulfill it. It is the BJP which gives priority to the welfare of farmers." In the last 10 years, there was a record purchase of wheat and paddy from Punjab, he said. "We raised MSP two-and-a-half times in the last 10 years," he added.

Security was beefed up after farmer bodies called a demonstration against PM Modi.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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