@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist
NEW DELHI— Barring a handful of permanent fixtures of sarkari durbar, no prominent Sikh of the capital showed up at the Dhyan Chand stadium hosting the central government-sponsored Veer Bal Diwas, Delhi Akali chief Paramjit Singh Sarna noted Tuesday.
“The poor showing bears testimony to the fact that the Modi government has distanced itself from the Sikhs further because of its stubbornness over the objectionable nomenclature for Chaar Sahibzadey,” the Panthak leader told reporters.
The Delhi Akali chief urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leave matters of religion to the faithful and instead focus his attention fully on other pressing issues of the country.
“Our economy is in the doldrums. Our health infrastructure is crumbling. Unemployment has peaked. There are defence related issues along China-Pakistan border. So many things for a prime minister to deal with. Given the shortage of intellectual Sikhs in their coterie, the government should rather leave religious matters of the Sikhs to the Sikhs, who can deal with them effectively on their own.”
He explained the thin Sikh presence reflected that the central establishment suffered from a crippling poverty of advisors with any understanding of Sikh psyche.
“The Modi government should have honoured Sikh sentiments and renamed Veer Bal Diwas appropriately. It wasn’t that tall an order. But the government displayed it characteristic stubbornness, the same it stuck with during the year-long farm agitation, and caused massive disaffection within the community,” Sarna said.
Asked about the DSGMC controllers’ support to Veer Bal Diwas, the Panthak leader described Harmeet Singh Kalka and his de facto boss MS Sirsa as a liability on the BJP.
“The BJP is bound to lose Sikhs wherever it parades this duo. It’s also because of their intellectual poverty that anything the government attempts at their ill advise comes boomeranging. The government’s own stubbornness and the Sirsa-Kalka gang is a perfect recipe for a PR disaster,” the Delhi Akali chief said.