Piquant scenes were witnessed in the Vidhan Sabha when five Congress MLAs entered the House barefoot, before the session began, wearing siropas around their necks, and started chanting Satnam-Waheguru loudly next to the treasury benches.
As the Haryana MLAs sat watching in silence, the five MLAs — Parminder Singh Pinky, Kulbir Singh Zira, Fateh Bajwa, Darshan Singh Brar and Barinder Meet Singh Pahra — kept chanting Satnam-Waheguru. They were soon joined by more Congress MLAs, including Sukhjinder Randhawa, Raj Kumar Verka and many others who also started
The chanting of the five MLAs — who had presumably fashioned themselves as the ‘Panj Pyaras’ (the five beloved ones in Sikh tradition) — soon gave way to loud shouts of Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal being rendered by the five MLAs. This too was picked up not only by fellow Congress MLAs, but were also responded by the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs who had also trooped in the meantime. Some Haryana MLAs too were seen bowing their heads and joining their hands in prayer as the chanting progressed.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Parminder Singh Pinky said that the five of them had walked barefoot all the way from the MLAs’ hostel as they wanted to make a special gesture at the historic occasion of the special session.
“It was a spur of the moment decision by all of us. This was the first time that Haryana MLAs were joining us in the house and we wanted to pray for the peace and prosperity of Haryana and Punjab. This will definitely send a positive message. We did not make any speech on the occasion as everything could be done as per minute to minute programme. This is an august House and everyone should rise above narrow thoughts. The Haryana and Punjab CMs also saw us entering barefoot and appreciated the gesture,” Pinky said.
This was perhaps the first time in recent years that such an overt religious display was made inside the House. Not even Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLAs attempted anything of this sort during their years in power. While no opposition MLA commented openly on the act, but privately many expressed their indignation. “While the occasion certainly was associated with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh master, there was no need for this overt display of religiosity,” said one MLA.